An Empirical Analysis of Livelihood Strategies and Food Insecurity in Turkana County, Kenya

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Gathiaka, John Kamau
Muriithi, Moses Kinyanjui
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African Economic Research consortium
The pastoral communities of Turkana in northern Kenya have for ages satisfied their economic, social and cultural needs through nomadic pastoralism. But due to increasing frequency of drought and market shocks, the ability of age-old strategies to shield these pastoralists from poverty and food insecurity has declined. With only livestock and social capital as the main assets in a communal property regime, it is not clear which of the various livelihood strategies that these pastoralists pursue can shield households from drought and market shocks and guarantee their food security. This study investigates the livelihood strategies as pursued by pastoralists in Turkana County with a view to identify strategies that can effectively shield households from shocks. Data for the study is sourced from the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) 2005/06. Available literature is used to identify livelihood strategies in Turkana, while the KIHBS data is used to establish the population of people pursuing each strategy. Anova and Bonferroni tests give evidence of the existence of four livelihood strategies using food expenditure ratio as the categorizing variable. Probit regression is used to estimate the determinants of food insecurity in Turkana, while multinomial logit regression is used to do further analysis on the determinants of livelihood strategies. The findings suggest correlation between food insecurity and livelihood strategies. Policies that target livelihood strategies may have implications on food security in Turkana. However, further analysis is required to confirm the reverse causality between livelihood strategies and food insecurity.