COMMERCIALIZATION OF FINGER MILLET (ELEUSINE CORACANA) AND HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN MIGORI COUNTY, KENYA
Orphaned crops such as finger millet (Eleusine coracana) have a great potential to improve household food security in developing countries. This is in part because the crops are less prone to diseases and pests and are adaptable to harsh weather conditions. Despite these benefits, their utilization and commercialization remains low. This study sought to assess the determinants of finger millet commercialization decision and the effect of finger millet commercialization on food security in Migori County. Data was collected from 131 households selected through a multi stage random sampling procedure. The determinants and level of commercialization were analyzed using the double hurdle regression model while food security was measured using the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. Logit regression was used to establish the effect of commercialization on food security levels. Results show that education (p<0.01), farming experience (p<0.01) and access to extension services (p<0.01) positively influence the household’s decision to commercialize. The level of commercialization of finger millet increases with household size (p<0.05) and quantity of finger millet produced (p<0.01) but decreases with increase in transaction costs (p<0.01). The study findings suggest that expansion of market participation among the finger millet farmers could be vital in improving household food security. However, this would require efforts to improve on institutional arrangements to enhance market participation, reduced transaction costs and access to extension services.