Modeling the Impact of Natural Resource-Based Poverty Traps on Food Security in Kenya: The Crops, Livestock and Soils in Smallholder Economic Systems (CLASSES) Model
36 Pages Posted: 18 May 2011
Date Written: April 2011
We investigate the interactions between natural resource-based poverty traps and food security for smallholder farms in highland Kenya using a recently developed system dynamics bio-economic model. This approach permits examination of the complex interactions and feedback between farm-household economic decision-making and long term soil fertility dynamics that appear to characterize persistent poverty and food insecurity among smallholders in rural highland Kenya. We examine the effects of changing initial endowments of land and stocks of on-farm soil organic matter on smallholders’ well-being, as reflected in several different indicators. We show that larger and higher quality land endowments permit accumulation of cash and livestock resources and conservation of soil organic matter relative to smaller or more degraded farms. This suggests the existence of asset thresholds that divide food secure households from insecure ones.
Keywords: Poverty traps, Kenya, food security, bio-economic modeling, system dynamics
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation