On developing a scale to measure chronic household seed insecurity in semi-arid Kenya and the implications for food security policy
This study, in the Food Security journal, analyzes household and farm-level characteristics that may predict chronic seed insecurity in semi-arid eastern Kenya. In the process, we also present and test the Household Seed Insecurity Assessment Scale (HSIAS) designed to measure household chronic seed insecurity. Seed security is complementary and relational to food security; having access to seed that produces meaningful and resilient yields of culturally appropriate food is an integral aspect of food security for smallholder farmers. However, essential components of smallholder seed security continue to be underemphasized in food and seed policy. Results suggest that mild chronic seed insecurity continues to be a problem in most households, hampering their ability to produce food. Older and more experienced farmers were more seed insecure and that farmer adoption of new varieties was associated with seed insecurity. Obtaining seed through local markets and informal giving was done evenly by all farmers while using agroshops was associated with greater seed insecurity in some instances. Key attributes of household seed (in)security identified in this study are used to inform seed and food policies that better support smallholder farmers in Kenya. With further development, the HSIAS has the potential to enhance local monitoring systems and government food and seed policy responses.