Assessment of Impact of Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU)ValueChain Project on Smallholder Farmers in Eastern Kenya
Kenya is a food deficit country even in a bumper harvest year. Though agriculture engages about 75% of the rural population, 80% of Kenya’s land area is classified as arid and semi-arid and is considered unfavourable for rain-fed agricultural production. The intermittent drought has resulted in a significant portion of the population regularly starving and heavily dependent on food aid. The Sorghum for Multiple Uses (SMU) value chain project started in 2011. The project targeted 30,000 farm households in Kenya. The objective ofthe SMU project was to support the development and adaptation of agriculturalrural innovations in sorghum value chains that would reduce food insecurity and increase the income of smallholder farm households. The objective of this research is to analyse the contributions of the project to reduction in food insecurity and increase in the income of smallholder beneficiary households. This research adopted a theory-based approach using a mixed method evaluation design and participatory impact evaluation. The study covered six (6) sub-districts in Eastern Kenya and 477 semi-structured questionnaires were administered to both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries in the project using multistage stratified random sampling. The findings revealed that the beneficiaries planted more sorghum and earned more income from sorghum, even during the year 2016 season when there was severe drought in Kenya. The beneficiaries also benefited more in terms of food security as 76% had food that could last for more than seven months and 41% could feed for the whole year. This implied less dependence on food aid. This paper also showed the strengths and areas of weakness in the SMU value chain project. The research suggested effective and aggressive advocacy and partnership with government to ensure stable and supporting policies for sorghum production and utilization; intensification of government diet diversification campaign showcasing the nutritional and health benefits of sorghum; and educational and training workshop on sorghum as substitute for the main raw-material used in feed formulation, granulated sugar, ethanol, and confectionaries.
Key words: value chain, climate smart agriculture, food deficit, income, food security