The impact of drought on production, consumption and nutrition in southwestern kenya.
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In this paper I compare the effects of the 1984 drought on agricultural production, income, food consumption, and nutrition of farm and non-farm households in South Nyanza Disrict, Kenya. Survey work covered the period 1984 to 1987. It was the late arrival of the long rains in spring 1984, rather than an absolute shortfall in rain, that caused most of the fluctuations in agricultural production. Agricultural households who were least affected by the drought were able to cope by increasing the amount of cultivated land and by relying more on coarse grain production. Coping strategies for the landless households in South Nyanza were more limited and this group of households therefore experienced greater fluctuations in income between the drought and non-drought periods than did most types of agricultural households. Surprisingly, changes in food consumption between the drought and non-drought periods were small for most households. In spite of differences in production, food availability and incomes, however, the health and nutritional status of pre-school-aged children was not significantly different in the two time periods. Differences in health and nutritional status appear to be influenced more by community-level health and sanitation factors than by differences in agricultural production and incomes in drought and non-drought years.
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