Socio-economic factors that influence farmer participation in agroforestry in Ainabkoi and Moiben Divisions, Kenya

Kurgat, Alfred Kipchumba (2002-03)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Kenya's economy depends largely on agriculture for growth and development and yet only 20% of the total land area lies in high potential farming areas that support 80% of the total population and 50% of the total livestock in the country. Intensified cropping as a result of the high population concentration on high potential areas has put pressure on land and other resources to an extent that potential productivity of these areas has been degraded. Loss of soil nutrients through soil erosion has caused decreased food production, deterioration of croplands and, siltation and eutrophication of water bodies. Over reliance on forest resources by the communities in the study area has led to deforestation as well as the general disturbance of watershed areas and its functions. There is need therefore to find alternative ways of retaining and/or restoring lost fertility through community participation so as to increase food production. The aim of this study was to investigate the socio-economic factors that influence farmer participation in agroforestry activities in Moiben and Ainabkoi Divisions of Uasin-Gishu District. Data was collected using participatory methods. One set of data was collected using a questionnaire that had both open and closed ended questions. Through random sampling, a total of 300 farmers were interviewed. Additionally, key informants from various government departments were interviewed. The other set' of data was obtained through resource assessment in a forest adjacent to the communities in the study area. This study found that the majority of the farmers had not practised agroforestry despite many being aware of it. Socio-economic problems that hindered them from adopting and practising agroforestry technologies included lack of forest extension services as a reliable source of information about suitable tree species, and how to plant and best locate them within the farm, gender-related issues hindered vulnerable groups, particularly women and children and lack of secure land tenure was a disincentive to those farmers who live on trust land and the married sons who have not been allocated land by their parents. Farm labour during peak farming period was found to scarce due to farmer prioritisation of farm activities. Farmers mentioned that trees occupy land that is already becoming scarce and only give returns in the long term yet farmers need immediate benefits. Forest extension services were ineffective due to scarcity of resources that would enable officers to discharge their duties efficiently. Resources within the gazetted forests were being over exploited since that was the only source with cheaply available wood and non-wood products. It was also found in this study that the majority of the farmers faced environmental problems that included soil erosion, decreased crop yields as well as shortage of wood products. In the future, affordable extension techniques need to be employed in order to reach the farmers. The current regulations that govern private land ownership should be streamlined so as to enable all family members participate in decision-making on utilisation of land. There is need to incorporate agroforestry adult literacy classes as well as in local school curricula. Being multi disciplinary, agroforestry can be spread to the farmers by involving stakeholders at every stage. The current crop of extension agents should be re-trained or should be attending in-service courses regularly. This could transform them into facilitators. Further research should be done on farmers' attitude towards trees, cheaper techniques of disseminating information on agroforestry should be investigated while the current extension techniques should be evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Kenia se ekonomie is grootliks afhanklik van landbou vir groei en vooruitgang. Slegs 20% van die totale beskikbare landbougrond in hoe-potensiele landbou areas ondersteun 80% van die totale bevolking en 50% van die totale lewende hawe. Hoë bevolkingsdigtheid vereis intensiewe oesverbouing wat weer hoë druk op landbougrond en ander bronne plaas. Dit het tot gevolg dat die moontlike produktiwiteit van hierdie areas agteruit gaan. Die verlies van voedingstowwe as gevolg van gronderosie het verlaagde voedselproduksie, agteruitgang van landbougrond en toeslikking van waterbronne tot gevolg. Die algehele afhanklikheid van gemeenskappe op bosprodukte het tot ontbossing en algemene versteuring van opvanggebiede gelei. Dit is dus noodsaaklik om alternatiewe maniere te kry om die grondvrugbaarheid te behou en/of te herstel deur gemeenskapsamewerking en om sodoende voedselverbouing te verhoog. Die doel van die studie is om ondersoek in te stel na die sosio-ekonomiese faktor wat die landbouer se samewerking in Moiben en Ainabkoi gebiede van Uasin-Gishu distrik beïnvloed. Die inligting is ingesamel deur deelnemende metodes te gebruik. 'n Vraelys met keuse- en ander soortige vrae is gebruik om die inligting in te samel. 'n Totaal van 300 landbouers is deur toevallige keuring ondervra asook segsmanne van verskeie regeringsdepartemente is vir inligting genader. Nog inligting is verkry deur hulpbronopnames in die gebied aangrensend tot die gemeenskappe van die studiegebied. Hierdie studie het gewys dat die meerderheid van die landbouers nie agrobosbou toepas nie alhoewel hulle wel daarvan bewus is. Sosio-ekonomiese faktore wat hulle verhinder om agrobosbou toe te pas sluit die gebrek aan lanboudienste as betroubare bron van inligting oor geskikte boomspesies en boomaanplantingmetodes in. Ook het geslagverwante probleme, kwesbare groepe veral vroue en kinders, gehinder. 'n Tekort aan gewaarborgde grondbesit vir landbouers wat op trustgrond werk en die getroude seuns aan wie nog nie grond deur hulle ouers toegeken is nie, was terughoudende faktore. Plaasarbeid was ook nie standhoudend nie. Landbouers het ook gevoel dat bome waardevolle en skaars grond gebruik en slegs voordele op die lange duur gee terwyl die landbouers die voordele dringend moet kan benut. Landbouvoorligtingsdienste was nie effektief nie as gevolg van die skaarsheid van hulpbronne wat personeel kan help in hulle verpligtinge. Voedsel- en ander bronne uit die bosreservate word uitgeput aangesien dit die enigste goedkoop bron is. Die studie het ook bevind dat die meerderheid landbouers omgewingsverwante probleme soos erosie en swak oeste asook 'n tekort aan houtprodukte ondervind. Voortaan behoort bekostigbare landbouvoorligtingstegnieke gebruik te word om landbouers te bereik. Die huidige bepalings wat privaatbesit reguleer behoort vereenvoudig te word sodat al die lede van een gesin 'n aandeel kan hê in die besluitnemingsproses oor die gebruik van die grond. Daar is ook 'n behoefte aan volwasse-geletterdheidsonderrig vir landbouers as deel van die skoolprogram. Aangesien agrobosbou verskeie gebiede raak, kan landbouers in enige stadium betrek word. Die huidige groep personeel behoort heropgelei te word of behoort gereeld indiensopleiding te ontvang. Dit kan hulle tot fasiliteerders bevorder. Verdere navorsing is nodig om landbouers se houding teenoor bome te verander en om goedkoper landbouvoorligtingstegnieke vir agrobosbou te vind. Huidige landbouvoorligtingstegnieke behoort ook ondersoek te word om die sterk - en swakpunte te bepaal.

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