Implications of Artisanal Mining on Food Security: A Survey of Selected Counties in Kenya

International Journal of Economics and Management Studies
© 2020 by SSRG - IJEMS Journal
Volume 7 Issue 8
Year of Publication : 2020
Authors : John Achuora, Robert Arasa, Cornelius Okello
How to Cite?

John Achuora, Robert Arasa, Cornelius Okello, "Implications of Artisanal Mining on Food Security: A Survey of Selected Counties in Kenya," SSRG International Journal of Economics and Management Studies, vol. 7,  no. 8, pp. 111-119, 2020. Crossref,


Artisanal Mining (ASM) has emerged as one of the economic activities in a number of counties in Kenya. The majority of artisanal miners have abandoned other economic enterprises, such as agriculture, to improve their living standards. Given the ecological and socio-economic challenges that characterize the artisanal mining sector, several questions have been raised regarding its capacity to meet the miners' economic needs, such as food security. This study sought to establish the influence of ASM practices on food security in selected counties in Kenya. A participatory cross-sectional survey research design was employed in executing this study. The study was confined to the five selected counties (Migori, Kakamega, Kisii, Kajiado, and Kitui), where artisanal mining (ASM) activities occur. Both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods were utilized. Stakeholders of interest for purposes of this study included relevant county government departments, farmers, miners, and local leaders. Primary data was gathered through FGDs, KII, and the use of structured questionnaires. Indicators of food security were borrowed from various instruments such as SDGs, WHO, and WFO. Study findings revealed that the level of agricultural produce is quite low and barely meets the household's basic food requirements in ASM areas. Overall the study revealed that ASM activities lead to food insecurity within the mining households in the selected counties.
Further, the study results indicated that underground mining results in a decrease in food security by 38% holding other factors constant, open surface mining practices leads to a decrease in food security by 48 percent holding other factors constant, placer mining practices result in a decrease in food security by 27.03 percent holding all other factors constant and solution mining activities result to a decrease in food security by 3.13 percent. The negative influence on food security by underground, open surface, and placer mining practices was found to be significant, resulting in lower incomes to support artisanal miners' socio-economic needs. Towards improving food security and income in ASM counties, the study recommends that the government and other sector players should embrace strategies such as agro-artisanal mining (AASM) policy, awareness programs on social evils of mining activities and health hazards associated with mining activities, and formalization of artisanal mining operations, regulation of marketing, pricing and mining processes.


Artisanal Mining, Food Security, Kenya.


[1] RoK., the Big4 Agenda, Source: (2017)
[2] Abuya, W.O., What is in a Coconut? An Ethno-ecological Analysis of Mining, Social Displacement, Vulnerability, and Development in Rural Kenya. African Studies Quarterly, 14(1) (2) (2013).
[3] KNBS, Statistical abstract. Nairobi, Kenya, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 277 (2014).
[4] Kiarie, Bernard, and Njihia, Samuel, Time to de-commoditize cement? Nairobi, Kenya, Faida Investment Bank, 39 (2014).
[5] CIMMYT Economics Program, The Adoption of Agricultural Technology: A Guide for Survey Design. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT, (1993).
[6] Mutie., Policy Gaps in Mining and Mineral Sector in Kenya, (2012)
[7] RoK, Kenya Mining Act 2016. Sources: 2016.pdf
[8] FAO, WFP, and IFAD, The State of Food Insecurity in the World, Rome, FAO, (2012).
[9] Appel, P. W. and Jønsson, J. B., Borax – an alternative to mercury for gold extraction by small-scale miners: introducing the method in Tanzania. Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Bulletin, 20 (2010) 87–90,.
[10] Basri, Sakakibara, M., and Sera, K., Current mercury exposure from artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Bombana, Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia—Future significant health risks. Toxics, Retrieved from 5(1) (2017) 7.
[11] Basu N, Clarke E, Green A, Calys-Tagoe B, Chan L, Dzodzomenyo M, Fobil JN, Long RN, Neitzel RL, Obiri S, Odei E, Ovadje L, Quansah R, Rajaee M and Wilson ML, Integrated Assessment of Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining in Ghana‖. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12 (2015) 5143-5176.
[12] Bryceson, D.F. and Geenen, S., Artisanal frontier mining of gold in Africa: labor transformation in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. African Affairs, 115(459) (2016) 296–317.
[13] Crawford, G, Coleman, A., Gabriel, B. and Atinga, M., The impact of Chinese involvement in small-scale gold mining in Ghana. (Report E-33110-GHA-1). International Growth Centre, London. Retrieved from content/uploads/2016/08/Crawford-et-al-2015.
[14] Drechsler, B., Small-Scale Mining and Sustainable Development within the SADC Region. MMSD, London, (2001).
[15] Hilson, Gavin, An Overview over Land Use Conflict in Mining Communities. Land Use Policy, 19 (2002) 65-73,.
[16] Hilson, Gavin, Small-scale Mining, Poverty and Economic Development in Sub- Saharan Africa: an Overview. Resources Policy, 34 (2009) 1–5.
[17] Hilson, G. and McQuilken, J., Four decades of support for artisanal and small-scale mining in sub- Saharan Africa: a critical review. The Extractive Industries and Society, 1(1) (2014) 104–118.
[18] Nyame, F. K. and Grant, J. A., From carats to karats: explaining the shift from diamond to gold mining by artisanal miners in Ghana, Journal of Cleaner Production (22) (2012).
[19] Ledwaba, P. and Nhlengetwa, K., When policy is not enough: prospects and challenges of artisanal and small-scale mining in South Africa. Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 7(1) (2016) 25–42,.
[20] RoK, Kenya Vision 2030, 2008. Source:
[21] Arasa R. Achuora J., Cornelius Okello C., Artisanal Mining Practices: A Study of Selected Counties in Kenya. International Journal in Management and Social Science
8 (5) (2020).
[22] RoKb, Kenya food security steering committee report. Source (Kenya Food Security Steering Group) (2017).
[23] Ollett, John, Green Hills of Africa not as important as its sandy beaches. Industrial Minerals, (547) (2013) 29–36.
[24] O‘Faircheallaigh, C. and Corbett, T., Understanding and improving policy and regulatory responses to artisanal and small scale mining. The Extractive Industries and Society, 3(4) (2016) 961–971.
[25] Persaud, A.W., Telmer, K.H., Costa, M. and Moore, M.L., Artisanal and small-scale gold mining in Senegal: Livelihoods, customary authority, and formalization. Society and Natural Resources, 30 (8) (2017) 980–993.
[26] Whittemore, R., Chase, S. K., & Mandle, C. L., Validity in qualitative research. Qual Health Res, 11(4) (2001) 522-537. 2014.
[27] Siegel S. and Marcello M.V, Artisanal and Small-scale Mining as an extra-legal Economy: DeSoto and the Redefinition of 'Formalization. Resources Policy, 34, 51, 2009 Publications.
[28] Timothy Afful-Koomson and Kwabena Owusu Asubonteng, Eds., Collaborative Governance in Extractive Industries in Africa, United Nations University for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-IRNA),102-120.
[29] Munro, B. H., Statistical methods for health care research (5th Edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott, (2004).
[30] Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Turner, L. A., Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2) (2007) 112-133.
[31] Pranjali Das, Gouri Prava Samal, "Impact of Food Subsidy on Socio-Economic Status of Odisha" SSRG International Journal of Economics and Management Studies 6(10) (2019) 120-123.