1.1 County Background
Kitui County is situated in the Lower Eastern region of Kenya, bordering Embu and Tharaka Nithi to the North, Taita Taveta to the South, Makueni to the West, Machakos to the Northwest and Tana River to the East. The County has eight sub counties which include Mwingi Central, Mwingi West, Mwingi North, Kitui Central, Kitui South, Kitui East, Kitui Rural and Kitui West covering an area of 30,570 kilometer square with 6,370 kilometer square covered by Tsavo National Park. The County has a population of 1,012,710 persons in 205,490 households (2009 Census). The county has two livelihood zones namely: Marginal Mixed Farming and Mixed Farming comprising of 44 percent and 54 percent of the population as shown in the Figure 1. In the Mixed Farming livelihood zone, crop production and remittances accounts for 35 and 25 percent of income sources while in the Marginal Mixed Farming livelihood zone, crop and livestock production contributes 20 and 30 percent to cash income respectively.
1.2 Current Factors Affecting Food Security
The current factors affecting food security in the County are; poor temporal distribution of long rains in Marginal Mixed Farming livelihood, high cost of farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, livestock diseases, human and wildlife conflicts and high food prices.