Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Variety for security : a case study of agricultural, nutritional and dietary diversity among smallholder farmers in western Kenya
Author: Ng'endo, Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 6346 4304
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Agricultural biodiversity, commonly referred to as agrobiodiversity, is that part of biodiversity that is geared towards agriculture and food production. Agrobiodiversity is said to contribute much to food and nutrition, but there is lack of data confirming this, particularly from Eastern Africa. To assess the extent of agrobiodiversity on smallholder farms and in local markets and to connect these to food intake and perceptions of food security among smallholder farmers in Western Kenya, the thesis asks four main research questions: (i) What is the extent of food plant diversity in smallholder farms, the bio-physical and socio-economic factors influencing it and the contribution of this diversity to the household's food needs? (ii) What is the relationship between agricultural and dietary diversity? (iii) What linkages are there between agricultural and nutritional diversity? (iv) How does access to agrobiodiversity in local markets contribute to meeting household food needs and what is the extent of smallholder farmers' integration into these markets? Through a combination of focus group discussions, farm and market surveys conducted across three time points, results indicate that: (i) higher food plant species richness is found on farms managed by wealthier and older households. However, these households are not more food secure than the rest, (ii) while there is a lack of a strong relationship between agricultural and dietary diversity, dietary diversity is instead significantly influenced by socio-economic factors including a household's wealth status, ethnicity and education level, (iii) despite a diversity of locally available on-farm and market food species meeting existing macro-and micro-nutrient needs, there is a general lack of understanding of this diversity as food shortage months coincide with a lack of maize despite high availability of a diversity of other foods not only to replace the maize but also to contribute to a diverse diet, (iv) smallholder farmers rely on multiple food sources, with markets mainly for sourcing cereals, fruits and animal source foods. There is also low integration of smallholder farmers as sellers in local markets. Together, the four case studies show interlinkages across food availability, accessibility and utilisation, which when addressed with equal weight, could unlock local agrobiodiversity's potential as a path to food and nutrition security of smallholder farming households.
Supervisor: Daley, Patricia ; Bhagwat, Shonil Sponsor: Bioversity International ; Rhodes Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Agricultural diversification--Kenya ; Food security--Kenya ; Nutrition--Kenya ; Rural development--Kenya ; Farms ; Small--Kenya ; Farmers--Kenya ; Kenya--Economic conditions