Extent of farmers’ participation in agricultural development projects, perceived project sustainability and their effects on poverty situation in Kakamega county, Kenya.
OKUMU, Janet Julie
MetadataShow full item record
In recent years the agriculture sector has been highly affected by increasing climate variability and enhanced exposure to extreme weather events. These changes have reduced productivity and led to greater instability in production in the agricultural sector and consequently resulted to increased poverty among the people who primarily rely on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. The government of Kenya and other international development organizations therefore invested massive resources into agricultural development projects due to their contribution towards food security and poverty reduction. However, despite billions of dollars spent on agriculture projects, most of these projects are partially active or the efforts have ultimately ended in halt or failure. Furthermore, farmers’ participation in their own projects has not yet attained the acceptable levels that qualify to imply full participation and high levels of poverty still persists among the rural households. This study aimed at determining the extent of farmers’ participation in agricultural development projects, perceived project sustainability and their effects on poverty situation in Kakamega County. The study sought to determine socio-demographic and institutional factors influencing extent of farmers’ participation in agricultural development projects, determine socio-economic and institutional determinants of perceived sustainability of agricultural development projects and determine the effect of extent of farmers’ participation and perceived project sustainability on poverty situation in Kakamega County. Cochran’s formula for unknown heterogeneous population size was used to determine 384 respondents. Using cross-sectional research design, structured questionnaires were used to obtain primary data from 384 farmers both project participants and non-participants. Interview schedules were also conducted on 12 sub-county agriculture officers as key informants. Systematic sampling technique was employed to select farmers from the sampling frame of all farmers provided at every sub county. From the Tobit regression model analysis, it was established that extent of farmers’ participation in agricultural development projects was positively influenced by the type of project funders and the number of climate smart practices offered by the projects whereas it was negatively influenced by the frequency of extension visits by other extension service providers, distance to the market and legal land ownership status. The ordered probit results demonstrated that the perceived sustainability of the projects was positively influenced by the number of practices adopted from the project, longevity of farmers’ participation and training while it was negatively influenced by legal land ownership status, farming experience and adoption cost. The stepwise regression results revealed that extent of farmers’ participation in projects had a significant positive effect on the poverty situation of farmers at 1 % level of significance while farmers’ perception on sustainability of agricultural projects did not have a significant effect. The study recommends up scaling of agricultural development projects to non-benefiting communities through partnerships between the national government and international agencies funding agriculture in order to offer a wide variety of new climate smart agricultural practices and also enhance high farmer participation in terms of both longevity and high climate smart practice adoption. The projects should also be designed under a bottom-up approach that allows prior assessment of the needs and capabilities of the local farmers. This assists in the development of climate smart agriculture practices and training that is tailored to suit farmers’ different needs and capabilities. In addition they should also explore opportunities for cost-sharing among farmers through collective action or by providing subsidies backed by local institutions that will continue to offer quality training, extension services and other forms of support beyond the project period.