Impact of Agricultural Commercialization on Household Food Insecurity in Kenya

  • Peter Kipkorir Department of Agricultural Economics and Resource Management, Moi University P.O. Box 3900-30100, Eldoret
  • Vincent Ngeno Department of Agricultural Economics and Resource Management, Moi University P.O. Box 3900-30100, Eldoret
  • Chepchumba Chumo Department of Agricultural Economics and Resource Management, Moi University P.O. Box 3900-30100, Eldoret
Keywords: Household Food (in)Security, Agricultural Commercialization, Endogenous Switching Regression, Kenya, Panel Data


Agricultural production in Kenya has remained low with relative food insecurity affecting many citizens in most parts of the country because of the increase in population growth over the past two decades. This study, specifically, examined the impact of agricultural commercialization on household food insecurity in Kenya using Panel data from Kenya’s 2020 Covid-19 Rapid Response Phone Survey. An endogenous switching regression was utilized to establish the impact of agricultural commercialization on household food security and at the same time account for endogeneity and self-selection problems. The endogenous switching regression (ESR) model also controlled for structural differences between the commercialized and the non-commercialized households in terms of food security outcome functions. Particularly, land size had a significant  positive  impact on the food security of the commercialized households while it had a negative but significant  impact on the food security of the non-commercialized households. Therefore, households with large land sizes are more likely to improve by a greater extent household food security compared to households with small land sizes when they participate more in the market. However, age,women empowerment  and internet access  recorded a significant homogenous effect on the food security of the households among the commercialized and non-commercialized group of households. The results further suggest that both the observed and unobserved characteristics influence the decision to commercialize and food security outcome give the decision to commercialize. The results reveal that households participating in agricultural commercialization would experience improved food security through increased dietary diversity. The study recommends that there is a need to support agricultural commercialization to increase household food security. This could be achieved by empowering households through adequate online training and education on agricultural commercialization, improving infrastructures and institutions such as internet connectivity, credit and commercial institutions.


Abdulai, A., & Huffman, W. (2014). The adoption and impact of soil and water conservation technology: An endogenous switching regression application. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 65(2), 297-317.

Abdullah, A., Salam, M. A., Islam, M. S., Rahman, M. S., & Rahman, M. S. (2015). Food security status in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh: A comparative study. Journal of Food Security, 3(1), 11-16.

Abdullah, Rabbi, F., Ahamad, R., Ali, S., Chandio, A. A., Ahmad, W., Ilyas, A., & Din, I. U. (2019). Determinants of commercialization and its impact on the welfare of smallholder rice farmers by using Heckman’s two-stage approach. Journal of the Saudi Society of Agricultural Sciences, 18(2), 224–233.

Agyeman, J., Cole, P., & Palmer, L. (2014). Pathways to urban sustainability: The case of the Atlanta Beltline. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 56(1), 26-36.

Alkire, S., H. Malapit, R. Meinzen-Dick, A. Peterman, A. Quisumbing, G. Seymour, and A. Vaz. (2013). Instructional Guide on the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Asfaw, A. G., Woldu, G. T., & Zenebe, B. (2015). Education and economic growth in Ethiopia: A time series analysis. International Journal of Educational Research and Technology, 6(1), 1-8.

Asfaw, S., Shiferaw, B., Simtowe, F., and Lipper, L. (2012). Impact of modern agricultural technologies on smallholder welfare: Evidence from Tanzania and Ethiopia. Food Policy, 37(3), 283–295.

Asferaw, D., Gebremedhin, T. G., & Woldie, A. (2012). Determinants of smallholder farmers' decision to commercialize vegetables in Ethiopia. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics, 4(13), 356-365.

Babatunde, O., Adejobi, A., & Fakayode, S. (2010). Income and Calorie Intake among Farming Households in Rural Nigeria: Results of Parametric and Nonparametric Analysis. Journal of Agricultural Science. 2. 10.5539/jas.v2n2p135.

Babatunde, R. O. (2009). Income and calorie consumption nexus: empirical evidence from rural and urban households in Nigeria. Agricultural Journal, 4(3), 121-126.

Babatunde, R.O., Olagunju, F.I., Akinola, A.A., & Omonona, B.T. (2020). Analysis of food expenditure patterns among households in Nigeria. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 15(1), 54-66.

Bahta, Y. T., Gebremariam, K. G., & Tesfay, G. E. (2018). Household food insecurity in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia: Prevalence, determinants, and coping mechanisms. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2018, 1-9.

Barrett, C. (2008). Smallholder market participate on: Concepts and evidence from eastern and southern Africa. Food Policy, 33: 299–317.

Beegle, K., Christiaensen, L., Dabalen, A., & Gaddis, I. (2016). Poverty in a rising Africa: Assessing the progress and pitfalls of Nigeria's poverty reduction programs. World Bank Group.

Bizikova, L., Bjornlund, H., de Oliveira, I. A., & Taranu, J. (2020). Food security and poverty reduction in developing economies: An analysis of key policy interventions. Food Policy, 95, 101924.

Brush, S. B., and Turner, B. L. (1987). The Nature of Farming Systems and Views of their Change. In: S. B. Brush, B. L. Turner (Eds.), Comparative farming systems. New York: Guilford Press.

Burgh, M. G., Carranza, E., & Zezza, A. (2015). Food expenditure and food security in a low-income country: A case study of Nepal. Food Policy, 54, 54-65. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2015.06.002

Davis, B., Di Giuseppe, S., & Zezza, A. (2017). The geography of poverty and nutrition: food systems are key to delivering better nutrition outcomes in low-income countries. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Dhraief, M. Z., Salem, S. B., Ben Youssef, S., & Brahim, S. B. (2019). Impact of adoption of innovative agricultural technologies on household income in rural areas of Tunisia. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 11(1), 1-12.

Di Falco, S., Veronesi, M., & Yesuf, M. (2011). Does adaptation to climate change provide food security? A micro-perspective from Ethiopia. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 93(3), 829-846.

Dsouza, A., Mishra, A., & Shukla, S. K. (2020). Market Information and Its Impact on Farming Practices: A Study of Smallholder Farmers in India. Sustainability, 12(16), 6594. doi: 10.3390/su12166594

Dube, T., & Ozkan, B. (2022). Livestock markets and household dietary diversity: Evidence from Ethiopia. Food Security, 14(1), 59-76.

Falcon, W. P., & Naylor, R. L. (2005). Rethinking Food Security for the Twenty-First Century. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 87(5), 1113–1127.

FAO (2015a). The state of food insecurity in the world”, available at: pdf.

FAO (2015b). FAO statistics division (FAOSTAT) data”, available at:

FAO (2019). The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019. Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns. Rome, FAO.

FAO (2021). The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2021. Rome: FAO.

FAO, (2013). The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2013: The Multiple Dimensions of Food Security. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome, Italy, ISBN-13: 9789251079164, Pages:52.

FAO, IFAD, and WFP. (2013). The state of food insecurity in the world 2013. The multiple dimensions of food security. Rome.

FAO. (2011). Guidelines for Measuring Household and Individual Dietary Diversity. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from

Fekadu Beyene and Mequanent Muche (2010). Determinants of Food Security among Rural Households of Central Ethiopia: An Empirical Analysis. Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture 49 (2010), No. 4: 299-318

Fischer E. and M. Qaim (2012a). Linking Smallholders to Markets: Determinants and Impacts of Farmer Collective Action in Kenya. World Development, Vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 1255–1268, 2012.

Fuglie, K., & Bosch, D. (1995). Economic interpretations of likelihood ratio test and covariance term correlation coefficients in the estimation of econometric systems. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 77(4), 972-978. doi: 10.2307/1243728

Goldstein, M., Mchich, K., Montalvao, J., Munoz, M., O’Sullivan, M., & Zikronah, B. (2013). “You can’t eat cotton”: Evidence on crop portfolios and gender from Benin. (Roadmap for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment Report, United Nations Foundation).

Gotschi, E., Kjellstrom, T., & Molinari, C. (2009). Climate Change and Gender: Economic Empowerment of Women through Climate Mitigation and Adaptation. Gender and Development, 17(1), 10-23.

Habtemariam L.T., C. Gornott, H. Hoffmann, and S. Sieber (2021). Farm production diversity and household dietary diversity: panel data evidence from rural households in Tanzania. Front. Sustain. Food Sys, 5 (151) (2021)

Hatab, A. A., Kassie, M., & Shiferaw, B. (2019). Commercialization of Agriculture and Food Security: An Empirical Analysis of the Rural Household Survey in Ethiopia. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 70(3), 627-647.

Headey, D. and Ecker, O. (2013). Rethinking the Measurement of Food Security: From First Principles to Best Practice. Food Security, 5(3), 327-343. doi:10.1007/s12571-013-02535.

Hoddinott, J. (2012). Agriculture, health, and nutrition: Toward conceptualizing the linkages. 2020 Conference Book: Leveraging agriculture for improving nutrition and health. Washington, DC.:International Food Policy Research Institute

Hou, J., Fu, H., Wang, H., & Zhang, J. (2018). Internet use and travel behavior: A study of household internet access and individual online activities. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 92, 13-28. doi: 10.1016/j.trc.2018.05.006

Igberaese, I. F., & Okojie-Okoedo. (2010). Food and Hunger Everywhere: A Nigeria Paradox of Poverty. 6. 90-100.

Issahaku, P., Ziba, F. B., Kofi Boakye-Yiadom, L., & Ahmed, A. (2020). Food and nutrition security in developing economies: A review of the policy landscape. Journal of Food Security, 8(3), 80-91.

Kabunga, N. S., Dubois, T., & Qaim, M. (2012). Impact of farmer group membership on input use and productivity in western Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 63(1), 168-192.

Kabunga, N.S., Dubois, T., and Qaim, M., (2014). Impact of tissue culture banana technology on farm household income and food security in Kenya. Food Policy 45, 25-34.

Kassie, M., Ndiritu, S. W., & Stage, J. (2014). What determines gender inequality in household food security in Kenya? Application of exogenous switching regression. World Development, 56:153±71.

Kassie, M., Stage, J., Teklewold, H., & Erenstein, O. (2015). Gendered food security in rural Malawi: Why is women's food security status lower? Food Security, 7:1299±320.

Kumar, N., Harris, J., Rawat, R. (2015). If They Grow It, Will They Eat and Grow? Evidence from Zambia on Agricultural Diversity and Child Undernutrition. The Journal of Development Studies 51, 1060–1077.

Leroy, J.L., Ruel, M., Frongillo, E.A., Harris, J, and Ballard, T.J. (2015). Measuring the food access dimension of food security: A critical review and mapping of indicators. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 36(2), 167-195. doi: 10.1177/0379572115587274.

Liu, Y., Chen, Z., & Zhou, J. (2019). The role of the internet in rural areas: Evidence from a field survey in China. Telecommunications Policy, 43(1), 51-64.

Lokshin, M., & Sajaia, Z. (2004). Maximum likelihood estimation of endogenous switching regression models. Stata Journal, 4(3), 282-289.

Lubungu, M. W. (2013). Agriculture and economic development in Africa: The role of the African farmer in poverty alleviation, food security and rural development. Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa, 15(3), 81-91.

Ma W., Nie P., Zhang P., Renwick A. (2020). Impact of Internet use on economic well-being of rural households: Evidence from China. Rev. Dev. Econ. 2020; 24:503–523. doi: 10.1111/rode.12645.

Maddala, G. S. (1983). Limited-dependent and qualitative variables in econometrics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Malapit, H. J. L., & Quisumbing, A. R. (2015). What dimensions of women's empowerment in agriculture matter for nutrition in Ghana? Food Policy, 52:54±63

Minot, N. (2010). Transmission of World Food Price Changes to Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington.

Mishra, A. K., El-Osta, H. S., & Shaik, S. (2009). E-commerce and farm households' food shopping behavior. Journal of agricultural and applied economics, 41(1), 169-184.

Moniruzzaman, M. (2020). The Impact of remittances on household food security: Evidence from a survey in Bangladesh. Migration and Development, 1-20. doi:10.1080/21632324.2020.1787097

Mora-Rivera, J. A., & van Gameren, E. (2020). Migration and household food security: Evidence from Mexico. Food Policy, 94, 101893. doi: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2020.101893

Muricho, G., Manda, D., Sule, F., and Kassie, M. (2017). Smallholder agricultural commercialization and poverty: empirical evidence of panel data from Kenya. Contributed paper prepared at the annual conference of the Agricultural Economics Society, 24-26 April 2017, Dublin.

Njuki, J., & Sangina, E. (2013). Women and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for food security and livelihoods. Routledge.

Ogutu, S. O., Gödecke, T., Qaim, M. (2017). Agricultural commercialization and nutrition in smallholder farm households. Global Food Discussion Papers.

Padmanabhan, M. (2008). Women in Agriculture: Issues and Challenges. Agricultural Economics Research Review, 21(2), 385-394.

Pingali, P. L., Rosegrant, M. W. (1995). Agricultural commercialization and diversification:Processes and Policies. Food Policy, 20 (3), 171–185.

Radchenko, N., & Corral, P. (2017). ‘Agricultural Commercialisation and Food Security in Rural Economies: Malawian Experience’, The Journal of Development Studies, 54(2), 256–270.

Rawlins, R., Pimkina, S., Barrett, C. B., Pedersen, S., & Wydick, B. (2014). Got milk? The impact of Heifer International’s livestock donation programs in Rwanda on nutritional outcomes. Food Policy, 44, 202-213.

Sanusi, R. A., Badejo, A. A., & Yusuf, S. A. (2006). Agricultural productivity in Nigeria: A spatial analysis. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 1(1), 1-7. Retrieved from

Saxena, S., Das, S., & Parikh, J. (2017). Commercialization in Agriculture and its Impact on Food Security: A Case Study of Indian Households. Journal of Rural Development, 36(4), 529-547.

Seebens, H. (2011). Intra-household bargaining, gender roles in agriculture and how to promote welfare enhancing changes. ESA Working Paper No. 11±10. ESA Working Paper 11±10, Agricultural Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Seng, M. (2016). The impact of agricultural commercialization on household food security in rural Cambodia. Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, 1(1), 1-17.

Seymour G. (2017). Women's empowerment in agriculture: Implications for technical efficiency in rural Bangladesh. Agricultural Economics; advance online publication.

Shiferaw, B., M. Kassie, M. Jaleta and C. Yirga (2014). Adoption of improved wheat varieties and impacts on household’s food security in Ethiopia. Food Policy 44 (2014) 272 – 284

Smith, J. (2005). Food insecurity and hunger: A global challenge. International Journal of Food Policy, 10(2), 65-78.

Sraboni, E., Malapit, H.J., Quisumbing, A.R., and Ahmed, A.U. (2014). Women’s empowerment in agriculture: what role for food security in Bangladesh? World Develop, 61, 11–52.

Swindle, J., & Bilinsky, P. (2006). Household dietary diversity and measures of maternal and child anthropometry in Burkina Faso. The Journal of nutrition, 136(5), 1426S-1431S.

Twumasi, P. A., Osei-Kofi, D. K., & Morna, C. K. (2021). The impact of internet access on smallholder farmers’ food and nutrition security: evidence from Ghana. Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, 11(2), 121-142.

UN (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN.

Von Braun, J., & Kennedy, E. (1994). Agricultural commercialization, economic development, and nutrition. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

WHO (2021). Malnutrition. World Health Organization. detail/malnutrition

Wood, B., Nelson, C., Kilic, T., Murray, S., (2013). Up in smoke? Agricultural commercialization, rising food prices and stunting in Malawi.

World Bank, (2020). Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: reversals of fortune. Washington, DC, World Bank.

World Bank. (2008). World development report 2008: Agriculture and Poverty Reduction, World Bank, Washington DC, USA.

Wossen, T., Tessema, G.G., Abdoulaye, T., Rabbi, I., Olanrewaju, A., Alene, A., others (2017). The cassava monitoring survey in Nigeria: Final report. Ibadan: IITA.

Xue, Y., Li, Y., Zhou, Q., & Yang, W. (2021). The Impact of Internet Use on Household Food Security in Rural China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(2), 436.

Yuan, Y., Lin, J., & Zhang, Y. (2021). The impact of internet access on household consumption: Evidence from China. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 172, 121027.
How to Cite
Kipkorir, P., Ngeno, V., & Chumo, C. (2023, April 7). Impact of Agricultural Commercialization on Household Food Insecurity in Kenya. African Journal of Education,Science and Technology, 7(3), Pg 187-206.