168 Records out of 22207 Records

The importance of trans-spatial economic and social networks in household strategies of peasants in rural Kenya

Author: Holdener, Karin

Awarding University: University of Bern, Switzerland

Level : MSc

Year: 2007

Holding Libraries: University of Bern Centre for Development and Environment Library ;

Subject Terms: Laikipia District/Peasants/Farming/Socioeconomic factors/Households/Rural areas ;

Abstract:

Peasants in the semi-arid Laikipia District in Central Kenya are exposed to many different challenges within the attempt to ensure their livelihoods. The area has a great variability in precipitation and generally low availability of water in combination with strong erodibility of the basically fertile soils. This limits the suitability of the areas' natural resources for human use. Regarding land use and socio-economic structures, Laikipia has undergone major transformations in the 20th century which caused fundamental changes: as a consequence of colonial rule, pastoralists were marginalized and Laikipia was made into a production basket for export, run by white large-scale farmers and ranchers. After independence and the subsequent subdivision of former large-scale farms, Laikipia became an immigration area for small-scale farmers which lead to a rapidly growing population, trying to secure livelihood through subsistence farming. This, in turn, produced an increased pressure on water and other natural resources, thus making it difficult for peasants to ensure their surviving. The ongoing expansion of settlements and newly forged farm-plots spreading into the vast plains towards north-west Laikipia, the growing population density paired with degradation of natural resources and the lack of adequately adapted land use systems, are facts that have to be dealt with by all concerned actors. In terms of ensuring livelihood, peasants were and still are among the actors most affected by the problems and developments described above. Hence, peasant's activities, their strategies and adjustments on the household level are a very important field of interest in research and development efforts. The approach to local development dynamics via peasants in the concrete rural context of Laikipia, can be seen as a contribution to an actor-oriented understanding of the dynamics and an attempt to adequately support solution-finding processes. The described situation of peasants in Laikipia, basically was the starting point for a large scale -investigation'on peasants' livelihood strategies in 1992 and the follow-up in 1997, which were both conducted by the Laikipia Research Programme LRP in Nanyuki (today CETRAD), under the lead of Prof. Dr. U. Wiesmann, Centre of Development and Environment CDE, University of Bern. Those two former investigations conducted in the area, allowed a comparing glance back and therefore marked the basis for this master thesis. Hence, this study is a contribution to a long-term monitoring over a period of 1 5 years about overall household strategies of peasants in Laikipia, aiming. to create a better understanding of the process-dynamics within the strategies of action over time. The present study was concentrating on two spheres of action of peasants which are not directly related to the use of natural resources within their immediate environment: the spheres 'Off-Farm Labour and Remittances' and 'Social Networks and Ties'. The study aimed to assess the status and changes in the two fields of action within peasant household strategies on an individual level and to examine their relevance within the broader context of the overall household strategy. Moreover, the view on dynamic conditions for decisions on strategies and their embedment in political, economical and social changes or trends in the local and national focus were other goals and points of interest. The fieldwork took three months and started in late November 2005. It was carried out in the two differing agro-climatic study areas of the former surveys and included 30 interviews with peasant households of diverse characteristics. The samples were chosen out of the remaining 150 households of the survey in 1997. One source of information was the data and information of the semi-quantitative interviews from 1992 and 1997. To obtain data for this study, the questions were partly repeated to the sample respondents which was consequently permitting a

Analysis of spatial variation of soil fertility gradients in Vihiga and Siaya districts of Western Kenya using geostatistical techniques

Author: Okeyo, Jeremiah Mosioma

Awarding University: Kenyatta University, Kenya

Level : MES

Year: 2006

Holding Libraries: Kenyatta University Moi Library ;

Subject Terms: Soils ; Soil conservation ; Farming ; Vihiga District ; Siaya District ;

Abstract:

In western Kenya, several soil fertility management technologies have been developed in specific benchmark areas and then recommended to the rest of the farmers. Adoption of such technologies has been minimal at best, and, one of the reasons given for this low rate of adoption is that they did not take into consideration the existing spatial variations in biophysical and socio-economic conditions within which the local smallholder farmers operate. Against this background, a study was carried out to quantify the variability of soil fertility at different spatial scales and formulate domains for better targeting of soil fertility management recommendations. Farms were selected using a hierarchical Y-frame sampling design and in each farm information on the main biophysical factors collected. Field measurements, observations and sampling were used to collect data on the biophysical conditions, while participatory rural appraisal (PRA) was used to collect socio-economic data. All fields in each farm were characterised and top soil samples collected at a depth of 020 cm. All the sample collection points were georeferenced using a GPS system. Exploratory data analysis techniques were used to assess the effects of biophysical and socio-economic parameters on soil fertility. Geostatistical techniques of semivariography and kriging were used to explore the spatial structure of soil fertility gradients. Mixed effects modelling was used to confirm relationships, while accounting for spatial correlation structures, and understanding the variance of predicted soil organic C at different spatial scales. Predicted soil organic C was found to be spatially correlated and the spatial structure was modelled using experimental semivariograms fitted with spherical, exponential and ratio quadratic models. At the Y-level, using the exponential semivariogram model, spatial structures ranged from weak in Y3 (nugget/sill ratio > 0.75), moderate in Y2, Y5, Y7, Y8 and Y9 (nugget/sill ratio 0.25 < r < 0.75) to strong in Y 1 and Y4 (nugget/sill ratio < 0.25). On average all the three variogram models gave a nugget/sill ratio of between 0.5-0.6 indicating moderate spatial correlation. The maximum range at which this spatial structure can be reliably predicted is up to 60 m beyond which correlation errors increase significantly. All the three model variogram estimates had high nugget variances which imply that the micro-scale variation (i.e. variation below the minimum sampling interval) was large. Analysis of the estimated variance components showed that the field (residual) effect accounted for the greatest percentage (62.5%) of the variation associated with random effects. After accounting for spatial variability all the other measured parameters (fixed effects) failed to explain the large local variability, thus, posing a challenge to making soil fertility management recommendations. Future soil fertility management strategies in western Kenya should target at explaining the large spatial variability of soil fertility within the smallholder farms.

The role of indigenous knowledge in management of soil quality among farmers in Chuka and Gachoka Division, Central Kenya

Author: Mairura, Franklin Somoni

Awarding University: Kenyatta University, Kenya

Level : MES

Year: 2006

Holding Libraries: Kenyatta University Moi Library ;

Subject Terms: Soils ; Farming ; Central Kenya ;

Abstract:

A field study was conducted in Chuka and Gachoka divisions, which fall in Meru South and Mbeere Districts, respectively, on a sample population of 60 farmers in the 2003 long rain season, to determine their perceptions of soil fertility and common soil management practices which influenced soil quality within farmers' fields. The study aimed at investigating use of indigenous knowledge in farming systems in Central Kenya. Farmers were asked to identify soil fertility indicators that theyv used to determine fertility status of their soils in the productive or non-productive fields within their farms. Farms were selected randomly in Kirege and Gachoka sub-locations in Chuka and Gachoka Divisions respectively. A list of villages was first obtained from divisional offices to constitute the sampling frame, from which the study farms were randomly selected. There were 6 villages in Chuka and 5 villages in Gachoka. Social data was collected first from all farms in the sample (60), after which top soils were sampled from both productive and non-productive plots within smallholdings in both divisions. Soil sampling was then conducted on fifteen farms selected in both divisions from the farms that were visited in the household survey. Two farms were then selected in each village, and sampled for topsoils (0-20cm) comprised of a composite from a minimum of 10 randomly selected sites on farmers' fields from which a subsample (500 g) was obtained. Soil chemical parameters that were determined included soil reaction (pH), exchangeable acidity, exchangeable bases (Ca and Mg), extractable phosphorus (Olsen), total organic carbon, available nitrogen, total nitrogen and total phosphorous, while physical parameters included soil texture and water aggregate stability. Throughout the chemical analyses, samples were randomly replicated within the batches for quality monitoring. The aim of the study was to determine farmers' soil fertility perceptions and common soil management practices that influenced soil quality within fields in Chuka and Gachoka divisions, Central Kenya. Results showed that farmers only used sensory information (soil tactile and visible characteristics) to distinguish within soil fertility categories. The most important indicators for characterising productive and non-productive fields included crop yield (86%) and performance (76%), soil colour (60%) and soil texture (40%) in Chuka division while in Gachoka, soil colour was the most important indicator (84%). A total of 18 indicator plant species were used to distinguish soil fertility status in both divisions. It was clear from the study that farmers used a comprehensive set of indicators to classify and assess the fertility of their soils. These included characteristics they could see, feel, or smell in their fields, based on their own historic experiences in cultivating their fields. Farmers had a clear understanding of physical soil characteristics, especially soil colour, texture, tilth, crop production potential and on-farm soil erosion risks. There was a tendency for farmers to place soil conservation structures on soils that they valued most. Regarding soils, there were significant statistical differences among soil fertility categories, using parametric techniques (ANOVA) for key soil properties (p <0.05), implying that the soils must have had different properties and that there was a qualitative difference in the soils that were characterised as different by farmers. In both sites, fertile soils had significantly higher pH (p<0.001), total organic carbon and exchangeable calcium (P<0.001), magnesium (p< 0.05) and available-N. Factor analysis conducted on measured physical and chemical soil properties identified 4 main factors that explained 65% of the total variance in soil quality and were linked to farmers assessment indicators such as crop yield and fertiliser response. The first factor grouped calcium, magnesium and soil pH, while the second component comprised o

A comparative study of organic and conventional farming in Kalama division of Machakos district, Kenya

Author: Langat, Chepngeno Hellen

Awarding University: Kenyatta University, Kenya

Level : MES

Year: 2006

Holding Libraries: Kenyatta University Moi Library ;

Subject Terms: Farming ; Organic farming ; Kalama Division, Machakos District ; Soils ;

Abstract:

Kenya's population growth rate of 2.9% is said to be among the highest in the world, which therefore calls for increased food production in the country. This has resulted in intensive use of land due to continuous cultivation to meet the increased food demand and therefore pressure on the land resource and a decline in soil fertility. The realization of continuing soil fertility depletion in smallholder farming systems has led to a call for an alternative approach to nutrient management. This study aimed to assess the effect on soil fertility by different management practices in Kalama division of Machakos district and the possible contributions of organic farming as an investment to the natural resource capital base. In this study an interview schedule was used to obtain general information about the farmers in order to asses the extent to which organic farming is carried out in the area. The organic farms, which were sampled, were selected using the random sampling method while the conventional farms were selected using the stratified random sampling method from those farms adjacent to the organic farm. Soils were analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, Mg, CEC, organic P, N and C. Bulk density, porosity, texture, and water content, moisture retention and release and microbial biomass were tested for. The primary data generated was subjected to statistical analysis using Statistical Package of Social Scientists version 6.1 (SPSS 6.1). Linear regression (Confidence Level 95%) was used to test the strength of the relationship between variables such as pH and soil nutrients, CEC and soil nutrients and C and soil nutrients. A two-tailed t test was carried out, with confidence levels set at 95%, for the following variables: pH, EC, CEC, Na, Mg, Mn, Ca, N, C, P, Fe, and Zn. The study found that the farm holdings of the study area are small. Owners of smaller sized farms were more likely to practice organic farms than those with larger farms. The largest organic farm was found to be 1.5 acres while the largest conventional farm was found to be 6 acres. Organic produce in the area is not certified and hence there is no difference in marketing and pricing of this produce. Organic farming is therefore practiced in a local sense and to a very small extent as farmers only do it on small pieces of land and have no marketing strategy for their produce. When subjected to a t - Test pH, EC, K, Zn and Fe showed significant differences between organically managed farms and conventionally managed farms with p values being 0.029, 0.024, 0.01 and 0.005 respectively (p< 0.05). The strength of the relationship between pH and K, P, Fe and EC indicated that pH accounts for 57%, 47%, 54% and 60% of the variation in K, P, Fe and EC respectively when subjected to linear regression. Na on the other hand accounted for 46.2% of the variation in EC. Generally the nutrient levels in organic farms was higher than those of conventional farms and therefore a conclusion can be drawn that organic farming is improving soil capital base but may take a longer time for other aspects of soil fertility such as moisture retention ability of the soil to differ significantly. Organic farming should therefore be advocated for in order to improve soil fertility in the area and the food security in the area.

Papers on agricultural insurance and farm productivity [Kenya].

Author: Liu, Yanyan

Awarding University: Michigan State University, USA

Level : PhD

Year: 2006

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Economics ; Farming ; Productivity ; Insurance ; Agriculture ; Papers USE Essays ; Essays ;

Abstract:

This dissertation is composed of two distinct papers. The first one is a theoretical paper on agricultural insurance pricing. The second paper studies model selection in stochastic frontier analysis with an application to maize production in Kenya. The first paper reviews existing agricultural insurance valuation models and provides a new model. The new model takes explicit account of the non-diversifiable market risk inherent in offering insurance contracts, and demonstrates how capital markets can facilitate risk spreading and diversification. The analysis suggests that present value models may provide appropriate insurance valuations in some circumstances, but the standard Black-Scholes model has deficiencies for pricing agricultural insurance. Other existing methods for pricing the market risk in agricultural insurance contracts are logically consistent and potentially useful. However, the heterogeneous agent equilibrium model developed here is easy to use, amenable to empirical estimation, and provides a simple and intuitive way to value market risk in agricultural insurance contracts. The second paper shows how to estimate the quantitative magnitude of partial effects of exogenous firm characteristics on technical efficiency (along with their standard errors) under a range of popular stochastic frontier model specifications. An R 2 -type measure is also derived to summarize the overall explanatory power of the exogenous factors on firm inefficiency. The paper also applies a recently developed model selection procedure to choose among alternative stochastic frontier specifications using data from household maize production in Kenya. The magnitude of estimated partial effects of exogenous household characteristics on inefficiency turns out to be very sensitive to model specification, and the model selection procedure leads to an unambiguous choice of best model. Bootstrapping is used to provide evidence on the size and power of the model selection procedure. The empirical application also provides further evidence on how household characteristics influence technical inefficiency in maize production in developing countries

Farming on the boundary : organic agriculture in semi-arid Kenya.

Author: Goldberger, Jessica Rule

Awarding University: University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA,

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: Dissertation Abstracts International ;

Subject Terms: Agriculture ; Agricultural production ; Organic farming ; Arid and semi-arid regions ;

Abstract:

This dissertation examines how negotiation, communication, and coordination across multiple social worlds, agricultural knowledge domains, and geographic scales has resulted in the diffusion and adoption of informal (non-certified) organic agriculture practices among Kenyan farmers. Ten months of qualitative fieldwork--participant observation; semi-structured interviews with farmers, self-help groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government agricultural extensionists, agricultural researchers, and organic farming trainers; and secondary data collection--were conducted in Kibwezi Division, Makueni District, Eastern Province. The sociology of science literature on boundaries--specifically, boundary-work, boundary organizations, and boundary objects--provides the conceptual framework for this study. This research found that national and local NGOs dedicated to organic agriculture promotion, training, research, and outreach continually negotiate the boundaries between multiple social worlds (e.g., foreign donors, farmers, agricultural researchers, and the Kenyan state) and knowledge domains (e.g., formal agricultural science and local knowledge). As boundary organizations, organic agriculture NGOs engage in 'strategic bridge building' by creating and using boundary objects and hybrid forms to unite multiple social actors around common objectives, such as challenging the Green Revolution regime and promoting agricultural sustainability. They also engage in 'strategic boundary-work' by expanding the boundaries of formal agricultural science to include indigenous farming knowledge/practice that had been previously decried by Green Revolution pioneers as 'traditional' and thus not scientific. Because of its 'scientization' by NGOs, non-certified organic agriculture in Kenya has achieved a degree of legitimacy and authority in the eyes of donors, agroscientific institutions, the Kenyan state, and farmers themselves. The success of Kenyan organic agriculture NGOs rests ultimately with the sustained adoption of organic agriculture practices by farmers. Analysis of organic agriculture adoption and NGO-farmer linkages in Kibwezi Division, however, revealed a 'disconnect' between NGO knowledge and farmer action. Possible explanations for this disconnect include the limitations of NGO-sponsored organic farming workshops, lack of post-training follow-up by NGOs, and competition between organic and conventional agricultural messages in the region's complex agricultural development environment.

Socio-economic factors influencing livestock keeping dynamics in a smallholder crop-livestock system in Western Kenya.

Author: Thuranira, Christine M

Awarding University: University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: Index To Theses ;

Subject Terms: Economics/Socioeconomic factors/Livestock/Western Kenya/Crops/Farming/ ;

Abstract:

The purpose of the work was to gain an understanding of the factors that influence household decision-making on the allocation of household resources and how these impact on the ability to own and successfully look after livestock. Livestock keeping dynamics were examined in terms of factors such as herd structures, production parameters, the ways in which households acquired and lost livestock and the characteristics of households entering and leaving livestock keeping. The study was undertaken in Funyula and Butula Divisions in Busia, Western Kenya and was carried out by means of a two-year longitudinal survey. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods were employed in the form of questionnaires and Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises. Busia district has a typical smallholder crop-livestock production system with most households relying on crops as their main livelihood strategy and livestock being kept as a means of income diversification. The majority of animals entering livestock holdings were born into the holdings and there was only a 3% increase in the number of livestock keeping households over 2 years. Households purchasing animals generally bought the same species as they had sold. The proportion of animals lost through death ranged from 27% to 33% among the all livestock species and the majority of these deaths were disease related. A quarter of cattle sales were directly attributed to disease and between 5% and 7% of cattle and small ruminants were sold because they were ?unproductive?, a factor that can often be linked to the presence of disease. Livestock disease episodes were higher during the long rains than the dry season, but more money was spent during the dry season when numbers of disease episodes were low. The provision of credit to farmers would help enable farmers make the initial investment in livestock and in the appropriate management of their animals

The political economy of contract farming in Kenya : a historical-comparative study of the tea and sugar contract farming schemes, 1960-2002.

Author: Ochieng, C M O

Awarding University: University of Oxford, England

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: ;

Subject Terms: Economics ; Political economy ; Comparative studies ; Tea plantation workers ; Sugar industry ; Contracts ; Farming ;

Abstract:

Contrary to conventional opinion, this thesis posits that the Kenyan state has not been biased in favour of smallholder farmer. By examining the legal and institutional framework, the distribution of costs and benefits, and the degree of smallholder ?voice? or ability to contest policy in contract farming in tea and sugar, this study found that agricultural policy making and delivery under both the Moi and Kenyatta states was disproportionately influenced by, and tilted in favour of agribusiness. Contract farming in tea and sugar in Kenya was neither efficient nor equitable. This study re-visited the ?Kenyan development model? or the ?Kenyan state debate?, by examining the tri-partite relationship between the Kenyan state, agribusiness and smallholders {1962-2002} through the vantage point of contract farming. The inconclusive resolution of the ?Kenyan debate? and the lacuna in the existing literature provided both the justification and point of departure fro this study. The study transcended the limited terms and the inadequate theoretical and analytical frameworks under which both the Kenyan development and contract farming debates have been conducted, by providing broader conceptualisations of key concepts of the ?state?, ?contract farming?, ?efficiency? and ?equity?. Contract farming is conceived of a being embedded in socio-economic and political structures and relationships, local and international that change over time. Instrumentalist and relative autonomy theories of the state are challenged and the role of state in society shown to be dependent upon specific historical circumstances. The notion of ?efficiency? as a ?technical, neutral term? is similarly challenged and ?efficiency? shown to be an ideological term, whose definition in contract farming, is stakeholder dependent. Equity is conceptualised broadly to include inequalities of opportunities, capabilities and ?voice? {based on ethnicity, regional or political differences}. The key strength of this approach is that it allows for multiple levels of inquiry and evidence {for instance, macro and micro, economic and socio-political, et cetera} which have not been employed in previous studies of either the Kenyan state or contract farming

Factors that influence growth of small-scale farming : case study of small-scale vegetable farming in Ruiru Division

Author: Njoroge, David Nganga

Awarding University: Kenyatta University, Kenya

Level : MSc

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: Kenyatta University Moi LIbrary ;

Subject Terms: Ruiru Division, Thika District ; Small business ; Farming ; Vegetables ;

Abstract:

Small-scale farming is becoming very important in meeting the financial needs of many families in Kenya today. Small-scale farming has been incorporated into the Micro and Small Enterprises Sector. This suggests that even the government has appreciated the importance of Small-scale farming towards poverty alleviation and wealth creation. Despite the importance of small-scale farming, it's a sector that is experiencing constraints just like the overall Micro and Small Enterprises Sector. To investigate the kind of constraints and their effects on Small-scale farming, a sample of 47 farmers were randomly selected and interviewed in Ruiru Division of Thika District. The results of the study indicate that lack of credit is a major constraint in Small- scale farming. Other constraints include lack of pricing strategies, land ownership and lack of market information.

Economic analysis of urban farming by households from low income areas of Nairobi, Kenya.

Author: Muriithi-Ritho, Cecilia Nyawira

Awarding University: University of Nairobi, Kenya

Level : PhD

Year: 2005

Holding Libraries: University of Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library ;

Subject Terms: Agriculture ; Agricultural economics ; Farming ; Urban areas ; Nairobi, Kenya ;

Abstract:

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