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Title: Food Security in Urban Households: An Analysis of the Prevalence and Depth of Hunger in Nairobi and its Relationship to Food Expenditure
Other Titles: Working Paper 41b
Authors: Kamau, Mercy
Githuku, James
Olwande, John
Keywords: Food Security -- Urban Households
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Tegemeo Institute
Abstract: Abstract Thirty percent (3 million) of the food insecure in Kenya are located in the urban and peri-urban centres making urban food insecurity and poverty a major concern. Because markets are the main source of food for the urban population, issues of food availability, affordability, adequacy and the ability of the market and public programmes to deliver food come to the fore. Up to date information on the proportion of food insecure and severity of hunger allow governments and development agencies to effectively plan, monitor and evaluate their interventions. Targeting and packaging of assistance need also to be informed to be effective. Aggregate or country level estimates of food security are limited in their usefulness because they do not provide useful information for targeting specific areas or groups of people. Data on food acquired by households have been found useful in assessing food security status in households and are considered reliable in determining whether households acquired sufficient food in terms of quantity and quality. This study provides estimates of the prevalence and depth of food insecurity in households in Nairobi based on consumption and expenditure data that were collected directly from households in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2009. The indicators used for food insecurity are the proportion of the consuming inadequate dietary energy and the deficiency in energy intake. The study shows that 44 percent of households residing in Nairobi are under-nourished with up to 20 percent being ultra hungry (i.e. daily per capita dietary energy intake is less than 1,600 kcal). Majority of the undernourished fall in the low income groups (quintiles 1 to 3) with a staggering 80, 60 and 40 percent of the households falling in the first, second and third quintiles respectively. Furthermore, 50, 20 and 17 percent of households in the lowest, second and third quintiles respectively were ultra hungry. The study also shows that a decrease in per capita expenditure on total food, staples, and all food groups except meats, signals increased food insecurity in urban households. The study further shows that the cash transferred to poor and vulnerable households was adequate for bridging the energy deficit in all households when the energy deficit is met using the relatively cheaper ‘posho' maize meal. The study also shows that a food subsidy programme covering households in the first, second and third quintiles reaches over 83 percent of the ultra hungry, 81 percent of the medial hungry and 69 percent of the subjacent hungry. The study however supports targeted food subsidies since the support needed varies with the income and hunger status of a household. Key Words: consumption, dietary energy, hunger, depth, prevalence, Nairobi
Appears in Collections:Tegemeo Institute

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