Journal of Food Security
ISSN (Print): 2372-0115 ISSN (Online): 2372-0107 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Food Security. 2021, 9(3), 94-100
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-9-3-1
Open AccessArticle

Assessment of Household Food Security Situation during the Covid-19 Lockdown in Kenya

Dinga Lynette Aoko1 and Ojijo Nelson K. Olang’o2,

1Department of Human Nutrition Sciences, School of Food and Nutrition Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P. O. Box 62000, 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

2Department of Food Science and Technology, School of Food and Nutrition Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, P. O. Box 62000, 00200, Nairobi, Kenya

Pub. Date: June 01, 2021

Cite this paper:
Dinga Lynette Aoko and Ojijo Nelson K. Olang’o. Assessment of Household Food Security Situation during the Covid-19 Lockdown in Kenya. Journal of Food Security. 2021; 9(3):94-100. doi: 10.12691/jfs-9-3-1


Food security remains a key challenge in Kenya. A household is considered to be food insecure when they lack physical and economic access to safe, sufficient and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life at all times. In the last six months or so, vulnerability to food insecurity has been exacerbated by the raging effects of COVID-19 pandemic, which pushed the Government of Kenya to impose a partial lockdown in the month of April, 2020, in the counties of Nairobi and Mombasa. This survey sought to assess the effects of the ongoingCOVID-19 lockdown on household food security situation in Kenya. A survey was conducted from June to July 2020 through a structured questionnaire which was administered through online social networks. A total of 444 responses were received, but only 80 were completely filled. Quantitative data were collected on the socio-demographic characteristics, dietary practices and coping strategies based on a set of questions to assess behavioral responses to manage incipient household food shortage. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0. Descriptive statistics such as mean, percentages and frequencies were carried out; relationships between the variables were assessed using chi-square test, Pearson correlation and multiple linear regression. Significance levels were determined at 95 percent confidence interval where a p-value of less than 0.05 was considered significant. The prevalence of low, medium and high dietary diversity scores were 7.5 percent, 17.5 and 75 percent, respectively, implying that the majority of the respondent households were food secure with pockets of food insecure households within the Nairobi Metropolitan region. There was a significant relationship between household dietary diversity and household income source (χ²=7.71, p=0.02), household perceived economic pressure during the COVID-19 lockdown (χ²=20.37, p<0.01), and household perceived ability to meet their food needs (χ²=18.01, p<0.01). Consumption of less preferred and less expensive foods was the most (30 percent) often used coping strategy against food insecurity. The study recommends putting up mitigation strategies to support pockets of food insecure households during lockdowns imposed by state agencies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

food security COVID-19 lockdown dietary diversity household income household economic pressure household food needs

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Coleman-Jensen A., Rabbitt, M.P., Gregory, C.A., and Singh, A., Household food security in the United States in 2017, 2018.
[2]  FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP and WHO, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019: Safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns. Rome, FAO, 2019.
[3]  Government of Kenya, The 2017 Long Rains Season Assessment Report. Nairobi. 2017.
[4]  World Food Programme (WFP), WFP Chief Warns of Hunger Pandemic as COVID-19 Spreads (Statement to UN Security Council), Rome, 2020. Available online at:
[5]  Barrett, C., “Actions now can curb food systems fallout from COVID-19,” Nature Food, 1-2.2. 2020.
[6]  Naja, F. and Hamadeh, R., “Nutrition amid the COVID-19 pandemic: a multi-level framework for action,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: 1-5. 2020.
[7]  OECD, Interim Economic Assessment – Coronavirus: The World Economy at Risk. 2 March 2020. OECD. 2020. ( March-2020.pdf).
[8]  FAO, Urban food systems and COVD-19: The role of cities and local governments in responding to the emergency. FAO, Rome. 2020.
[9]  FAO, Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. 2011.
[10]  Chege, M.P., Kuria, E., and Kimiywe, J., “A comparative study on dietary practices, morbidity patterns and nutrition status of HIV/AIDS infected and non-infected pre-school children in Kibera slum, Kenya,” Journal of Applied Biosciences, 32 (2008-2014). 3-60. 2010.
[11]  Cordero-Ahiman, O. V., Santellano-Estrada, E., and Garrido, A., “Dietary diversity in rural households: The case of indigenous communities in Sierra Tarahumara, Mexico,” Journal of Food and Nutrition Research, 5(2). 86-94. 2017.
[12]  FAO, An introduction to the basic concepts of food security. FAO Food Security Programme. Rome. 2008.
[13]  Harris-Fry, H., Azad, K., Kuddus, A., Shaha, S., Nahar, B., Hossen, M., Younes, L., Costello, A., and Fottrell, E., “Socio-economic determinants of household food security and women’s dietary diversity in rural Bangladesh: A cross-sectional study,” Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, 33(2). 1-12. 2015.
[14]  Jones, A. D., “On-farm crop species richness is associated with household diet diversity and quality in subsistence- and market-oriented farming households in Malawi,” The Journal of Nutrition, 147. 86-96. 2017.
[15]  Fongar, A., Gödecke, T., Aseta, A., and Qaim, M., “How well do different dietary and nutrition assessment tools match? Insights from rural Kenya,” Public Health Nutrition, 22. 391-403. 2019.
[16]  Amaza SP (2006). “Determinants and Measurements of Food Insecurity in Nigeria: Some Empirical Policy Guide”, Presentation at the International Association of Agricultural Economists Conference, Gold Coast, Australia
[17]  Simsek, H., Meseri, R., Sahin, S., Ucku, R., “Prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition, factors related to malnutrition in the elderly: A community–based, cross–sectional study from Turkey.” European Geriatric Medicine, 4(4). 226-230. 2013.
[18]  Zhang, Q., Chen, X., Liu, Z., Varma, D.S., Wan, R., and Zhao, S., “Diet diversity and nutritional status among adults in southwest China,” PLoS ONE, 12(2). 1-9. 2017.
[19]  Walingo, M.K., and Kidake, F.M., “The influence of household procurement strategies on food intake and nutritional status of pre-school children in rural western Kenya,” Sustainable Agriculture Research, 2(2). 109. 2013.
[20]  Tiyou, A., Belachew, T., Alemseged, F., and Biadgilign, S., “Food insecurity and associated factors among HIV-infected individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy in Jimma Zone Southwest Ethiopia,” Nutrition Journal, 11(51). 1-8. 2012.
[21]  Parappurathu, S., Kumar, A., Bantilan, M.C.S., Joshi, P.K., “Food consumption patterns and dietary diversity in Eastern India: Evidence from village level studies (VLS),” Food Security, 7(5). 1031-42. 2015.
[22]  Aidoo, R., Mensah, J. O., & Tuffour, T., “Determinants of household food security in the Sekyere-AFRAM Plains district of Ghana,” European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 9(21). 11-61. 2013.
[23]  Bukusuba, J., Kikafunda, K. J., and Whitehead, G. R., “Food security status in households of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in a Ugandan urban setting,” British Journal of Nutrition, 98, 211-217. 2007.
[24]  Ramachandran, P. and Hema, S. G., Under-nutrition and risk of infections in preschool children. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 130:579-83, 2009.
[25]  Saaka, M., Oladele, J., Larbi, A., Zeledon, I. H., “Dietary diversity is not associated with hematological status of pregnant women resident in rural areas of Northern Ghana,” J Nutrition and Metabolism, (2):38. 2017.
[26]  Nega, G., Dietary diversity and associated factors among rural households in south Gondar zone, Northwest Ethiopia, 2015.
[27]  Kiboi, W., Kimiywe, J., Chege, P., “Determinants of dietary diversity among pregnant women in Laikipia County, Kenya: a cross-sectional study,” BMC Nutrition, 3.12. 2017.
[28]  Gupta, P., Singh, K., Seth, V., Agarwal, S., Mathur, P., “Coping Strategies Adopted by Households to Prevent Food Insecurity in Urban Slums of Delhi, India,” Journal of Food Security, 3. 6-10. 2015.
[29]  Mjonono, M., Ngidi, M. and Hendriks, S., Investigating Household Food Insecurity Coping Strategies and the Impact of Crop Production on Food Security Using Coping Strategy Index (CSI). Elsenburg 7607 & Scottsville 3209: Western Cape Department of Agriculture & African Centre for Food Security, 2009.