The socio-economic Impacts of Irrigated Smallholder Agriculture on Sustainable Household Food Security in Kenya.


  • Danice Otieno Awinda Kabarak University



smallholder farmers, food security, household incomes, Gem Rae irrigation scheme, Vision 2030, socio-economic impacts.


Kenya has a total land area of 582,646 square kilometres of which, about 99,050 square kilometres (17%) is classified as medium to high agricultural potential experiencing at least 700mm of rainfall per annum.  The remaining 83% is classified as ASAL and needs some irrigation for meaningful farming to take place.  Irrigation is necessary in order to increase food production to provide food security to support the rapidly growing population, and ensure economic growth in the dwindling land holdings of high to medium potential areas (IDB, 1998). The Kenya Vision 2030 (2008-2030), targets the development and rehabilitation of irrigation schemes in the country to increase agricultural production and generate an additional Kshs. 80 – 90 billion increase in GDP. It also prescribes introduction of new land use policy through better utilisation of high and medium potential lands, prepare new lands for cultivation by strategically developing more irrigable areas in arid and semi-arid lands for both crops and livestock and by improving market access to smallholders through better marketing. However, participation of smallholder farmers in irrigation activities can be affected by socio-economic factors such as access to credit facilities, access to extension services and marketing of produce among others. The study investigated the socioeconomic factors of smallholder irrigation on household food security in Gem Rae irrigation scheme. The study used cross-sectional survey design in which a sample of 120 farmers was interviewed using structured questionnaire. The data was analysed descriptively using percentages and frequencies. The study revealed that factors such as access to credit, size and land ownership, level of education of the household head and access to extension services had impacted negatively on farmers’ participation in irrigation activities, thereby impacting on household food security and household incomes. The study concluded that future development of smallholder irrigation needs to factor in the socio-economic trade-offs of irrigation in its suitability criteria for its development.


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Author Biography

Danice Otieno Awinda, Kabarak University

Physical and Bilogical Sciences


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How to Cite

Danice Otieno Awinda. (2018). The socio-economic Impacts of Irrigated Smallholder Agriculture on Sustainable Household Food Security in Kenya. Kabarak Journal of Research & Innovation, 6(2), 1–15.

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