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Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor in developing countries. Pulses, including dry beans, play a crucial role in ensuring food security, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where over 200 million people depend on beans as part of their main diet. In Rwanda, dry beans are an important staple food and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households. Unfortunately, dry beans are a slow-cooking food, requiring a lot of time and fuel to be ready for consumption. This makes them an indirect cause of deforestation and air pollution. To counteract this disadvantage, the concept of precooked beans was introduced in Rwanda in 2009, although their use has been dismal. The current study, therefore, sought to identify challenges hindering their use and evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of their use among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. A multiple sampling technique was used to acquire proportionate sample of 64 boarding secondary schools. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from caterers of those schools. Data was processed and analysed using management tools such as SPSS, STATA and Ms Excel for descriptive statistics, logistic regression and partial budget analysis, respectively. The results showed that the major constraints to the use of precooked beans in schools were lack of sufficient information, perceived high price, unavailability and the sustainability claims about precooked beans industry. Factors such as the education level of caterer, type of institution, geographical location of institution, size of institution and perceived high price of precooked beans had a statistically significant influence on the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. Partial budget analysis revealed that in average, in a school of 478 students, the total cost of consuming precooked beans was Rwf 1,588,535 (USD 1,847) per month, which is Rwf 270,919 (USD 315) higher than the total costs of consuming dry beans. In relation to environmental effects, results showed that in average, precooked beans consumption in one school of 478 students would save about 27.04metric tons per month. This implies that the use of precooked beans in secondary schools would reduce the imbalance between annual wood demand and supply by 17.1% on average. Thus, the government should recognize the environmental benefits of precooked beans adoption in schools and consequently subsidize precooked beans in schools to an affordable price. Further, it should come up with policy to enlighten schools about the damaging effects of environmental degradation.

Background of the study 
Food security is a major concern of the world, especially among the poor people living in Sub- Saharan Africa (SSA) and other developing areas of the world. It is for this reason that the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) aims at attaining zero hunger in the world (WHO, 2015). In 2016, the number of undernourished people was estimated at 815 million worldwide with 224 million of the undernourished people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (FAO, 2017). This high level of food insecurity in SSA is mostly attributed to increased population, which leads to higher demand for food than supply, thus causes rise in food prices (FAO, 2017). Climate change is also considered as the major source of food insecurity in SSA for it causes severe droughts and floods which bring about heavy losses to agriculture and hence food production (Sasson, 2012). Another key cause of food security in SSA has been identified as post-harvest food loss and waste for about 1/3 of food is lost during production or transportation (FAO, 2016a). 

In addressing global food security, pulses have been recognised by United Nations as the potential crops to play this role (FAO, 2016b). Pulses are an affordable source of protein as compared to animal products, and a good source of minerals (FAO, 2016a). Besides, pulses contribute significantly to climate change mitigation. That is, they supply their own nitrogen and contribute nitrogen to ensuing crops through their fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in soils. This, in turn, reduces required fertilizer, hence, lowers greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural production (Singh et al., 2016). Furthermore, pulses minimise food wastage as they can be stored for long periods without being spoiled (FAO, 2016a). Pulses or grain legumes include among others dry beans, soybeans, cowpeas and lentils. 

Dry beans are particularly important because of their naturally nutritious nature. They are a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and essential minerals such as manganese, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). They have low saturated fat content (Messina, 2014). They are, therefore, of particular importance in the diets of low-income households around the world which cannot afford to buy animal products (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Hence, they are often referred to as “poor man’s meat” (Larochelle and Alwang, 2014). Common beans have the advantage of providing a range of food products as they can be consumed as leaves, fresh pods, fresh grains and dry grains (Nsengiyumva et al., 2017). Fresh pods protein is high in lysine, which makes it a good complement to starches like maize, cassava and rice (Munywoki, 2017). 

Moreover, beans provide many potential health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular, cancer and diabetic risks (Winham et al., 2016). Dry beans have a low glycemic index due to their richness in complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein and this makes them a perfect food for managing insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and diabetes (Foster-Powell et al., 2002). It has also been reported that consuming dry beans four or more times per week reduces heart disease risks by 22% (Winham et al., 2016). Further, apart from playing a crucial role in reducing the risks of chronic diseases, dry beans have been reported to have an anti-obesogenic activity due to its effects on cholesterol metabolism (Zhu et al., 2012). 

Among pulses, dry beans are the second most produced pulse worldwide after soybeans, whereby in 2016 their production was 26,833,394 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are produced across the world with the major production being from Asia and Latin America (Sousa, 2017). Though the largest quantity of dry beans is produced by middle and developed countries, dry beans are mostly consumed in under-developed and developing countries (Rezende et al., 2017). In Africa, dry beans are the most important grain legume with their production coming primarily from small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and assumed largely for subsistence (Wortmann et al., 2004). In 2016, dry beans production in Africa was estimated to 6,489,138 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). Dry beans are one of the most popular traditional diets in East African countries and over 200 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on them as a primary staple (Malyon, 2014). 

In Rwanda, dry beans are the third most produced crop after bananas and cassava. In 2016, dry bean production was 437,673 metric tons (FAOSTAT, 2018). They are grown in all the regions of the country, contributing greatly to the employment and income of about 80% of small holder farmers (Akibode and Maredia, 2011). Dry beans serve as an important staple in Rwandan diet and constitute the primary source of protein for about 90% of Rwandan households, with the daily per capita consumption of 80 grams per person on average (FAOSTAT, 2012). Indeed, Rwanda and Burundi have the highest per capita bean consumption in the World (NAEB, 2012). As such, beans, in Rwanda, are one of the crops that are part of the government’s Crop Intensification Program (NAEB, 2012) to ensure food security for all. 

However, despite these comparative advantages and consumer preference for freshly cooked beans, cooking traditional dry beans is considerably time and energy consuming. Dry beans take approximately three hours to cook (Aseete et al., 2018) and consumers incur considerable costs to buy energy necessary to prepare them. Wood, either in the form of firewood or charcoal, is the main source of energy for their cooking for about 80% of Rwandan population (Uwisengeyimana et al., 2016). In rural areas, though generally the amount of money incurred in getting cooking fuel are minimal, women spend many hours collecting firewood to cook dry beans (Aseete et al., 2018). Those fuels directly cause deforestation, and air pollution from carbon emission, which in turn lead to environmental degradation, climate change and poor health. 

Since the last decade, deforestation has been of much concern for the government of Rwanda. In fact, from 1990 to 2007 the country has known a massive deforestation due to rapid population growth which has resulted in several negative effects including soil erosion, flooding and climate change among others (Nduwamungu, 2011). From 2008, the government has been addressing this problem of massive deforestation through afforestation and reforestation (USAID, 2017). However, despite great efforts that are being put in conserving forests, the population’s demand for wood, either in form of timber, firewood or charcoal, is far greater that the supply (MINIRENA, 2017). This high demand for forest products leads to overexploitation of forest especially in private owned forests and this in turn leads to deforestation. 

To deal with the issue of deforestation resulting from cooking purpose, the government collaborated with the private sector through its Programme of ‘Made in Rwanda’ in which it is encouraging and supporting private investment. Hence, in 2009, Rwanda Agribusiness Industries Limited introduced precooked beans as a solution to increased wood use, though the company closed in 2015 due to mismanagement (Farmfresh, 2017). In the same year, a new company producing the same product, Farmfresh Food Company, was started in Rwanda and continued the precooked beans production (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are processed beans which require 5 to 15 minutes to be ready for consumption (Aseete et al., 2018). Although precooked beans industry has enough processing equipment to sustain the market, its products are not familiar to consumers, thus their current production is about 100 metric tons per month (Farmfresh, 2017). Precooked beans industry sources raw material (dry beans) from Sarura Cooperative and hence contribute significantly to the socio-economic benefits of the cooperative members through improving their income and providing employment (Farmfresh, 2017). 

Precooked beans are produced using electricity and since they are pressure-cooked in bulk, using energy efficient facilities, low energy is used to cook them. Therefore, their use can be financially and environmentally profitable (Aseete et al., 2018). Precooked beans in Rwanda have a great number of potential consumers including over 1.2 million people counted in the middle class (Farmfresh, 2017) and institutions serving beans to a large group of people. Thus, the use of precooked beans by those consumers would considerably ease the pressure that is being put on forests. Furthermore, time otherwise spent in cooking dry beans would be significantly saved and can be used for other economic activities. 

Institutions feeding large groups of people such as schools are one category of big consumers of beans. By consuming beans in bulk they use huge quantities of firewood (REMA, 2009). Thus, by shifting from consuming traditional dried beans to consuming precooked beans, they are also likely to reduce considerably the wood fuel used to cook beans. Moreover, all costs associated with getting the wood fuel, the quantity of water required, the amount of labour used for cooking beans as well as the time spent in cooking beans will be significantly reduced. This, in turn, will greatly help the government to conserve the environment. 

Statement of the problem 
Today, the government of Rwanda is greatly concerned with the problem of deforestation, driven by high demand for wood products, especially charcoal and firewood. The concern arises from the feeling that deforestation is a main source of climate change which is hindering agriculture production, thus compromising attainment of food security. One area of specific concern is the high and inefficient wood fuel use in at least 90% of households and institutions in the cooking of some food products including dry beans. Though beans are central to attainment of food security, the long time it takes to cook them is in particular a major cause of massive deforestation. To counter this, precooked bean products were introduced in Rwanda in 2009. However, their rate of use is still low and this may be due to the fact that their benefits are not well known. This study, therefore, intended to identify challenges hindering the use of precooked bean products among boarding secondary schools in Rwanda. Likewise, it intended to evaluate the environmental and economic benefits that would result from shifting from dry beans to precooked beans consumption. 

Objectives of the study 
General objective 
The general aim of this study was to promote environment friendly consumption patterns among Rwandan institutional consumers through revealing potential economic and environmental benefits of using precooked beans. 

Specific objectives 
i. To identify constraints hindering the use of precooked beans among schools. 
ii. To determine factors influencing the willingness of schools to use precooked beans. 
iii. To evaluate potential economic and environmental effects of shifting from dry beans to precooked beans among schools. 

Research questions 
i. Which constraints have hindered the use of precooked beans among schools? 
ii. What factors influence the willingness of schools to switch from dry to precooked beans? 
iii. What are the economic and environmental implications of using precooked beans? 

Justification of the study 
Energy is considered by the Government of Rwanda as a key factor of sustainable development. However, most of the energy sources in Rwanda such as hydro sources, methane gas, solar and peat deposits are not yet fully exploited. As such, wood is still the main source of energy for 80% of Rwandan population, being used mainly for cooking purpose. This has resulted in a massive deforestation across the country as well as indoor air pollution, with consequent effects on the environment. To counteract this, one of Rwanda’ s Vision 2020 energy targets is to reduce wood fuel consumption from 94% to 50%. To achieve this target, the government is encouraging the use of gas and other alternatives. However, due to the long duration of beans preparation, it is too costly to cook them using gas. As a result, they are still mostly prepared with wood. This represents a great limitation to the achievement of the wood fuel target since beans remain the staple food for households and institutions in the country. 

Findings from this study contribute towards the development of short and long-term policy interventions aimed at lowering pressure on the forest resources in the country. Also by informing about the benefits of precooked beans, the findings of the study encourage people to shift from consuming dry beans to consuming precooked beans. Thus, this study contributes towards conserving environment, saving time of individuals and institutions and sustaining the manufacturer’s business. Moreover, the results of this study also provided insight towards further studies in related areas. 

Scope, limitations and assumptions of the study 
Scope of the study 
The study was carried out in sampled boarding secondary schools across the country and the results can be generalised to other institutional consumers of beans. 

Limitations of the study 
The collected data was limited to cross sectional data. Another limitation of this study is that it does not involve individual consumers while they are the potential consumers of precooked beans too. 

Assumptions of the study 
The study assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools consume beans. It also assumed that all the sampled boarding secondary schools have not yet used precooked beans, reason why the study is an ex-ante evaluation. Further, the study assumed that all respondents have at least a secondary school education level. 

1.7.Definition of terms 
Institutional consumers: refer to institutions that usually feed people they are in charge of. In this study, institutional consumers are boarding secondary schools and people to be fed are students. 

Dry beans: known as Phaseolus vulgaris L. are common beans that have been dried in order to preserve them for future use. 

Precooked beans: refer to packed beans that have been processed using pressure cooking and that require 5 to 15 minutes to be reheated before consumption. 

Ex-ante evaluation: is the examination of the anticipated impacts of a planned programme or project. 

Compatibility: refers to the degree to which a given innovation is perceived to meet consumer needs. 

Complexity: is the degree to which consumers perceive an innovation as relatively difficult to understand and use. 

Relative advantage: refers to the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being better than the preceding or competing product(s). Caterer: in this context is defined as the person who makes decision of what to buy for students’ food consumption (i.e head masters/mistresses or caterers).

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Botswana is classified as an upper middle income country and despite having attained such economic growth, the country still faces socio-economic challenges such as poverty. The current poverty rate is 20.7% while rural poverty is 24.7% which is relatively higher for an upper middle income country. In order to address this problem, the government introduced the Poverty Eradication Programme. This study therefore, sought to assess the income, expenditure and consumption dimensions of households that have benefited from backyard gardens which form part of the Poverty Eradication Programme in Southern district of Botswana. The study areas were three sub-districts of Southern district, Botswana whereby cross-sectional data was used to evaluate the effects of backyard gardens on household incomes. The objectives were to: characterize households with and without backyard gardens: evaluate the factors that influenced the gross margin of backyard gardens, and evaluate the impact of backyard gardens on rural household consumption expenditure. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of the backyard gardens program. Multi-stage sampling technique was employed to acquire proportionate sample of 247 respondents. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, gross margin analysis, regression analysis and propensity score matching. Results showed that gardens were a viable activity as gardens had positive gross margins. Gross margins were affected by a number of factors including fertilizer application, market availability and area planted. Even though, backyard gardens were viable they are affected by a various production and marketing constraints and the major constraints were pests and diseases, lack of water, lack of market and poor prices. Propensity score matching revealed that average consumption expenditure of backyard garden program beneficiaries was P934.02 which was 8.07 % higher than that of non-beneficiaries (P841.34) of the backyard gardens indicating that backyard garden program has improved the livelihoods of rural households. Thus, the government can invest more on the program as one of the extreme poverty reduction tools and encourage beneficiaries to put more effort into making the gardens successful. This could be possible if the program leaders could develop policies aimed at enhancing productivity of backyard gardens through provision of workshops and seminars whereby beneficiaries would acquire more training on vegetable production. Therefore, it can be concluded that backyard garden program plays a crucial role in improving the living standards of Batswana.

Background Information 
Botswana was classified as one of the ten poorest countries at the time of independence in 1966 and currently it is classified as an upper middle income country (Maipose, 2008). Though it has attained such economic growth, the country still faces socio economic challenge of poverty among others. The spread of poverty is geographical with some areas more profoundly affected than others. Results from the Botswana Core Welfare Indicator Survey (BCWIS) of 2009/10, revealed that poverty headcount rate stood at 20.7 % which is relatively high for an upper middle income country. Botswana‟s aspiration is to surpass the Sustainable Development Goal target of reducing extreme poverty by half by 2030 (Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, 2015). 

In order to achieve this goal, the government has introduced several initiatives aimed at improving the livelihoods of Batswana by addressing all aspects of poverty. These include among others the policy on environment such as the Environment Impact Assessment Act of 2005, Strategic Framework for Community Development in Botswana of 2010 and the establishment of sustainable economic empowerment projects under Young farmers CEDA fund which was established in 2004, Local Enterprise Authority established by the Small Business Act number 7 of 2004 and the Economic Diversification Drive (2010). Others include programs for orphans and destitute persons which falls under the Revised National Policy on Destitute Persons (2002), subsidized Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) which falls under the National Policy on Housing (2000) and agricultural schemes which are under the National Policy for Agricultural Development of 1991 (MOPAPA, 2015). In addition to the above initiatives, a Poverty Eradication Programme that would aid in attaining food security and minimum sustainable livelihoods amongst disadvantaged individuals and/or families was introduced. The packages in the Poverty Eradication Programme include: Food items include; Jam, pickles, food catering, food packaging, backyard garden, bakery, small stock, poultry and bee keeping and non-food items include; kiosk, home based laundry, leather works, textiles, tent hire, landscaping, hair salon, backyard tree nursery, upholstery, handy crafts (basketry, wood carving, pottery), arts, craft, traditional dance and song. 

The backyard garden program was introduced towards the end of 2009, as a government initiative through which individuals were identified and funded for a backyard garden (Basimane, 2014). Beneficiaries are given inputs such as irrigation systems (water tank, drip irrigation pipes), seeds, fertilizer, tools (spade, garden fork, and rake), gum tree poles and net shade (Botlhoko, 2012; Keakabetse, 2013). 

According to Torimiro et al. (2015) the types of vegetables that are mostly grown in the gardens are spinach (Spinacea oleracea L.), onion (Allium cepa L.), beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.), carrot (Daucus carota L.), rape (Brassica napus L.), chomolia (Brassica oleracea L.), green pepper (Capsicum annum L.) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). Challenges that backyard garden owners reported to face include lack of water, lack of finance, lack of market, pests and diseases, lack of technical knowledge on vegetable production and preservation and lack of encouragement from extension workers (Subair and Siyana, 2003; Torimiro et al., 2015). 

Backyard farming contributes to food security by assuring the provision of food in fresh form to satisfy the immediate calorie and nutritional needs of the household (Ojo, 2009). They are small pieces of land measuring approximately 30m by 10m in a residential area which is used to guarantee that the needs of immediate household members (Ojo, 2009). According to Ditedu (2015) backyard gardens were started with the aim of making sure that households were self-sufficient in fresh vegetables and they sell the surplus to their neighbours or through wet markets. Mostly these wet markets are found in front of retail supermarkets and the fresh vegetables are sold for a price lower than what the supermarket is offering for the same product. 

Statement of the Problem 
At the inception of the backyard gardening program, the government argued that these gardens would help poor households achieve food security and enhanced incomes through direct food provision and would enable households to earn income through sale of surplus produce. Though many households have been recruited into the program since its inception, the impact of these backyard gardens on household welfare have not been evaluated. Consequently evidence as to whether the socio-economic status of households that benefitted from backyard gardening has improved is largely unavailable. Likewise, direct impact of the program on access to food and household incomes remain largely un-documented. This study therefore sought to assess the income, expenditure and consumption dimensions of the backyard gardening program of households in Southern District of Botswana. 

Objectives of the Study 
General Objective 
The aim is to contribute to improved household welfare of backyard gardens beneficiaries and food security in Southern District, Botswana. 

Specific Objectives 
i. To characterize households with and without backyard gardens as per their socio economic indicators in Southern district, Botswana. 
ii. To evaluate the gross margins of the backyard gardens and factors that influence the gross margins of backyard gardens in Southern district, Botswana. 
iii. To evaluate the impact of backyard gardens on rural household consumption expenditure. 

Research Questions 
i. What are the socio-economic characteristics of households in the study area? 
ii. Is there any difference in the gross margins of the backyard gardens? 
iii. What is the impact of backyard gardens on household consumption expenditure? 

Justification of the Study 
Considering the effort that the government is putting in making sure the programme is a success, there is need to assess how the backyard gardens are performing in terms of contributing to the standards of living of small scale vegetable farmers. Therefore the results will provide empirical evidence of the contribution of backyard gardens. 

Secondly, findings will contribute towards the development of short and long term policy interventions aimed at fostering eradication of extreme poverty in the country. It will also add literature on the analysis of backyard gardens and poverty linkages specifically for smallholder farmers. 

Scope and Limitations 
The study used backyard gardens that are in the rural areas and are part of the poverty eradication programme. The limitation that this study had was that data collection was done during the period when most respondents were at the fields as it was harvesting time. To overcome this, the researcher made arrangements to interview the respondents in their preferred environment. Other respondents were unwilling to be interviewed no matter the level of assurance of anonymity and to address this limitation, those respondents were skipped. Most of the respondents did not keep records so they were not sure about some of the feedback that they were giving therefore to overcome this limitation, follow up questions were asked to ascertain the answers given. 

Definition of Terms 
Backyard garden - is a small piece of land (10m by 10m, 20m by 10m or 30m by 10m) cultivated around the dwelling place which have been funded by the Botswana government. 

Gross margin - compares the performance of enterprises that have similar requirements for capital and labour. It is given by total income less the variable costs associated with that enterprise. 

Productivity – is a measure of efficiency in which inputs are utilized in production. It is the ratio of agricultural outputs to agricultural inputs. 

Small scale vegetable farmer - refers to the beneficiary of the backyard garden scheme as funded by the government. 

Welfare - this is the improvement in the household income level and livelihoods which leads to increase in consumption expenditure.

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The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control reiterates the global effort toward tobacco control. The treaty seeks to decrease both the supply and demand of tobacco related products by reducing their production and consumption through legislation. Kenya, a party to the treaty, has put legislation in place to the same effect. However, not enough evaluation has been done to explain whether the passage of this legislation has trickled down to the extent that changes have occurred in the farm enterprise mix and the types of alternative farm enterprises replacing tobacco. This study was carried out in Teso district to evaluate tobacco farmers’ responses in light of the global efforts towards tobacco control where the farmers’ awareness of tobacco effects, the types and level of alternative enterprises replacing tobacco and what influences the choice of an alternative enterprise were investigated. Both primary and secondary data were collected, multistage sampling procedure was used, and a sample of 150 farmers selected. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, Gross Margin Analysis and Multinomial logit model. The results showed that farmers are reducing the acreage under tobacco and moving to other alternative crops. This shift is influenced positively and significantly by land size, access to extension services and distance to the market. However, total asset value negatively and significantly influenced farmers from shifting from tobacco. Further, the study revealed that there are a number of alternatives, especially high value crops, with better returns compared to tobacco. This means that more incentives and support are necessary drivers towards transitioning farmers from tobacco to other enterprises. The government and relevant stakeholders should thus formulate and implement effective policies aimed at reducing tobacco demand and supply identifying suitable alternatives to tobacco as well as creating awareness and providing financial and technical support to the farmers.

This chapter introduces the topic of study. It starts with Kenya in a broad sense and later focuses on the tobacco growing areas and narrows down to the area of interest. The background information outlines the trends that exist in the tobacco industry together with the challenges and remedial action taken. The problem is also presented and articulated within the chapter. This is together with the objectives that the study sought to achieve, the justification and the scope and limitation. Finally, the key terms vital to the study are defined. 

Background of the study 
Tobacco is grown in a number of African countries with suitable ecological conditions. It is only about 25 countries, in the continent, that do not grow tobacco (WHO, 2012). The intensity and percentage of arable land under tobacco production, however, varies from country to country. In Kenya, tobacco is grown mostly in four regions (Nyanza, Western, Central and Eastern). Most production, (80 percent), takes place in South Nyanza mainly in Kuria, Homa Bay and Migori districts. Approximately 35,000 small-scale farmers grow tobacco in Kenya. In total, approximately 45,000 hectares of land is devoted to the crop, representing 0.19 percent of total arable land (Patel et al., 2007). There has been steady growth since the 1990s in the number of farmers that are contracted to grow tobacco, with the latest being 15 percent increase between 2001 and 2008. This is in spite of the Tobacco Bill enacted in 2007. The increase is attributed particularly to the efforts of British American Tobacco Company, which has been expanding, to other areas with potential for growing tobacco. The increase comes at the expense of land that would be used to produce other cash and/or food crops. It has been shown that tobacco has a negative impact on food security (WHO, 2008). The sector is confronted by food insecurity concerns, occupational and environmental health hazards (Kibwage et al., 2005). The negative health, social and environmental impacts associated with tobacco growing are well documented (KTSA, 2008; WHO, 2008a; Kibwage et al., 2009). 

Agriculture is the key source of food and employment for the largest percentage of the population in Teso district (GoK, 2008). Agricultural production, especially among households is mostly subsistence. The main crops grown in the district are millet, cassava, sweet potatoes, maize, sorghum, beans, bananas and a number of vegetables. In addition to food crops, the population also grows cash crops with tobacco being the principal crop (GoK, 2008). Tobacco is solely the only short season cash crop apart from tradable food crops like maize that dictate the economic position of full time small-scale farmers in the district (Ekisa, 2010). Lagat et al. (2006) found that area allocation of farming enterprises by farmers at the regional level (Eastern, Nyanza and Western) tobacco enterprise had the highest share of farming area, more so in Teso. This could be the reason for the high food poverty incidences in the district at 49.4 percent (GoK, 2008), making the area food insecure. 

Environmental challenges at the moment are mainly due to destruction of forests and vegetative cover. One of the environmental degradation threats facing the district is unplanned tobacco farming leading to deforestation and severe soil erosion. The cutting of trees has been aggravated by the introduction of tobacco growing in the late 1970s because tobacco curing requires a lot of wood fuel (GoK, 2008; Ekisa, 2010). The type of tobacco grown in Teso is mainly fire-cured and to enhance availability of firewood, tobacco companies provide eucalyptus tree seedlings to farmers. Scientific research (ICRAF, 2003; Jagger and Pender, 2003) have however shown that this type of tree puts a lot of demand on water and nutrients resulting to loss of soil fertility and reduction of water table. This has led to further reduction in food crop production, hence, increased poverty levels. 

Tobacco farming is a labour intensive and tedious activity compared to its returns/profits. The farmers indicate that the cost of producing tobacco is high and when loans are deducted from total sales, they are left with little earnings as compared to the high labour and time inputs. Furthermore, they have no control on prices of inputs and output (Ochola and Kosura, 2007). There is generally lack of protective devices required during the production and preliminary processing of tobacco leaves. These include, gum boots, nose masks, overall (coats), and gloves among others (Lagat et al., 2006). This poses an occupational and consequently health hazard to the handlers of tobacco. 

Some of the health hazards include Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) and respiratory illnesses (Kibwage et al., 2007; Ochola and Kosura, 2007; WHO, 2008a). During the harvesting and curing period, there occurs a serious shortage of storage facilities and most farmers use their own houses to store the leaves. This action is a health hazard. Children and women are more vulnerable than men are to tobacco-related health risks since they spend a lot of time in tobacco farming (Kibwage et al., 2007). 

There is a worldwide effort against tobacco growing and consumption. The World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) aims at reducing tobacco production and ultimately reducing the consumption because of the health problems, not only for the consumers, but also for the producers (WHO, 2005; 2008a). Article 171 of the convention urges parties to find profitable alternatives based on the agro- climatological factors and geography. This worldwide campaign against tobacco production poses a great challenge to all stakeholders whose livelihood depends on the crop. As a result suitable alternatives to tobacco farming are sought by governments and other interested parties in order to sustain the livelihood which otherwise depend on tobacco growing. 

Kenya being a party to the WHO FCTC, has committed itself to educate the farmers on the dangers of tobacco growing and to shift into other economically viable alternatives. This does not mean a drastic change to other crops, but rather a progressive change to ensure that farmers adapt to the new requirements. 

Statement of the problem 
Since ratifying the WHO FCTC, Kenya has supported the current global lobby on the reduction of production and consumption of tobacco through national legislation. The legislation intends, in part, to reduce tobacco production and consequently cigarette manufacture. The effect of such a policy is that farmers, who depend on tobacco production for their livelihoods will therefore, more likely switch to alternative farm enterprises. However, it has not been empirically evaluated whether the passage of this legislation has trickled down to the extent that changes have occurred in the farm enterprise mix. It is also of interest to establish the types and competitiveness of alternative farm enterprises replacing tobacco particularly in Teso district along with the factors influencing their choice. Because farmers have been growing tobacco for close to four decades, it is not well understood if they are aware of any effects of the crop on their health. This study sought to address this knowledge gap. 

The general objective of this study was to contribute to informed policy implementation of tobacco control by evaluating the response of tobacco growers to the global fight against tobacco in Teso district. 

1 The WHO FCTC treaty has different tobacco demand and supply reduction strategies contained in different articles. Article 17 specifies the provision of support for economically viable alternative activities. 

Specific objectives 
1. To determine farmers’ awareness of the effects of tobacco production 
2. To determine the types and level of alternative enterprises replacing tobacco 
3. To determine the factors influencing the choice of an alternative enterprise. 

Research questions 
1. What is the farmers’ awareness of the effects of tobacco production? 
2. What are the types and level of alternative enterprises replacing tobacco? 
3. What are the socio-economic and institutional factors that affect the choice of an alternative crop? 

Justification of the study 
The WHO FCTC requires the scaling down of tobacco production. This study sought to evaluate farmers’ response by examining the type and level of alternative enterprises replacing tobacco. Farmers need to be fully aware of the effects, positive or negative, of tobacco farming. In this way, the farmers will have full knowledge of the enterprise and therefore make informed decisions on the types of alternative enterprises that will positively influence their farming endeavour. By determining the type of alternative enterprises replacing tobacco, the study will expose the best alternative enterprises that may in fact be better replacements to tobacco. Teso district having 80 percent of its land being arable, farmers should have more and maybe better alternative enterprises than tobacco that might raise rural income, self-sustenance and long term development plan as part of the country’s vision 2030. 

Scope and limitation of the study 
This study focused only on tobacco farmers in the district and considered alternatives that the farmers had actually engaged into, thereby missing on the other potential alternatives that could replace tobacco but not tried by the farmers. The fact that the study was carried out in one district is another limitation as the agro-ecological conditions, socio-economic factors vary across the country, making the recommendations not applicable to other tobacco growing areas. 

The data captured was mainly on the alternatives and the awareness levels of effects of tobacco. This means the environmental and health effects of tobacco was not statistically determined or evaluated, making it difficult to make recommendations bordering on the two. The study was limited in identifying the farmers who had sustainably abandoned or reduced tobacco production as measured by acreage under tobacco cultivation, as tobacco is an annual crop where those captured as having reduced that year, may increase the acreage the following year. Farmers were also required to recall past information and thus the accuracy of the information was limited considering poor/no records are kept with regards to their farming activities. 

Definition of terms 
Alternative enterprise: any on-farm activity (crop or livestock) that is undertaken as a replacement to tobacco production or makes use of the land that was previously under tobacco (in case of a crop). 

Tobacco farmer: a person who engages or previously engaged tobacco farming within the time of interest. 

Household: is defined as families who are living together and answerable to one person as a head and share living together. 

Livelihoods: refers to means of living, especially of earning money to feed oneself in terms of agricultural crops and animals on the same land resource arrangement. 

Smallholder farmers: those farmers having less than or equal to two hectares of land.

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Homa Bay County has great potential in terms of the existing arable land, availability of water, human resources base, technological options as well as market growth opportunities. A majority of household engage in fishing and agriculture as a source of livelihood with previous studies indicating that an estimate of 60% engage in sweet potato production. Kasipul, Kabondo Kasipul and Ndhiwa sub-counties have a high potential for sweet potato production. However the abundant production has not translated much into better living conditions by improving incomes as the poverty level in the county still exceeds 50%. Sweet potato value addition has the capability of fetching higher prices from the market. This study therefore established the activities of value addition being practiced in the three sub- counties, the prices of end-products, the marginal effects that value addition had on net income from sweet potatoes and the profit margins along the sweet potato value chain. Multi Stage sampling procedure was used to select 200 respondents. Interview schedules and observation method were used in the collection of data. Data was analyzed using STATA and SPSS computer programs. Descriptive statistics, chi-square test of independence, F-test, multiple regression model and profit margin analysis were used in analyzing the objectives. Results showed that majority of the farmers were involved in cleaning, sorting, grading and packing raw tubers as a form of sweet potato value addition. The prices of end-products of value addition were increasing with the level of value addition. The findings also revealed that the acreage under production, levels of value addition, access to training and transportation costs significantly influenced farm income from sweet potatoes. The profit margins were found to be higher for shorter distribution channels along the value chain. From these findings, the policy makers should encourage farmer group formation to enhance training on value addition, prices and market opportunities. In addition, the study recommends formation of more SACCOs through which farmers can acquire better vines for higher levels of value addition at subsidized prices and ready market for their produce.

Background Information 
Sweet potato is among the world‟s most important, versatile, and underexploited food crops. It currently ranks as the world‟s sixth most important food crop on a fresh weight basis. More than 105 million metric tons are produced globally each year; 95 % of which is grown in developing countries (FAOSTAT 2009). In these developing countries it ranks as the fifth most important food crop after rice, wheat, maize and cassava (ibid). Globally it is cultivated mostly in Asia Pacific countries such as China, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam among other areas. In Africa it is produced in countries such as Angola, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya. Sweet potato is one of the most widely grown root crops in Sub Saharan Africa covering around 2.9 million hectares with an estimated production of 12.6 million tons of roots in 2007 ( FAOSTAT, 2008). It is predominantly grown in small plots by poorer farmers‟ hence it is known as the „poor man‟s food‟ (Woolfe, 1992). Yields of sweet potato per unit of land vary widely, from over twenty- five tons per hectare in high-input agricultural systems to below three tons per hectare where sweet potato is grown as a subsistence crop with minimal use of fertilizers or other inputs, mostly in Africa. 

In Kenya sweet potato is mostly grown in Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay and Kisii counties. It is also grown to a small extent at the coast and in central regions. The potential of sweet potato contribution to food security, increased incomes and reduction of nutritional deficit is considerable and is yet to be fully exploited in developing countries (Woolfe, 1992). Nyanza region is among the highest sweet potato growing areas in Kenya with Homa Bay County being the principal source. Additionally, sweet potato is an important traditional crop that is grown customarily by small scale farmers both for domestic and commercial purposes. The crop has a relatively high yield potential that may be realized within a short growing season of between three to five months. It is a drought tolerant crop and has a wide ecological adaptation. 

Most sweet potato varieties require low or non-use of external inputs. Moreover, the ability of the crop to establish ground cover fast enables suppression of weeds, control of soil erosion and maintenance of soil fertility. As such, it is an attractive crop for Kenya's farming systems. 

The production of sweet potatoes in Homa Bay County is greatly enhanced by conducive conditions including sandy loam soil, and an abundant almost continuous rainfall pattern. Farmers are therefore able to realize two to three crops per year. The crop is either planted as pure stand or relay cropped with maize. The most important variety grown is Enaironi. This white skinned variety has desirable characteristics to both farmers and consumers. These include short maturity period (3 to 4 months), high yields, moderate stability after harvesting (up to 7 days) and an attractive yellow flesh. In some cases this variety receives higher prices than other varieties in the market. Kanchwere is the second most important variety grown. The tuber has a red skin and yellow flesh and matures within 6 to 7 months after planting. After maturity the tubers can retain their quality for a further 3 to 6 months when left unharvested. This variety is therefore suitable for cultivation for home consumption where sequential or piece meal harvesting is desirable, in order to extend the supply of fresh potatoes. The variety is also suitable for marketing as it can store relatively well (up to 2 weeks) after harvesting. 

Many raw commodities have intrinsic value in their original state. Value addition is the process of changing or transforming a commodity from its original state to a more valuable product. For sweet potatoes, value addition may take various forms. It can be boiled, roasted, fried, creamed or baked in their skins (Tewe et al., 2003). They are combined with both sweet and savory dishes. In addition other products such as sweet potato vine can be a valuable source of green fodder and lasts throughout the off-season. The tubers as well form an industrial raw material for the production of starch, alcohol, and pectin. On-farm processing of sweet potato in Homa Bay has picked up with a majority of the processors being members of women groups. These groups have been trained on the processing technologies by specialist in home economics. Examples include the Kinda Women Group with a processing site in Rangwe and the Allendu Women group, (Owuor, 1996). ADS-Nyanza is a faith- based organization working in six counties in Nyanza region to implement a sweet potato value chain upgrading project. The aim is to increase farmers‟ income levels from sweet potatoes by improving production and marketing of the product in Kabondo area of Homa Bay County,(ADS-Nyanza, 2002). The kind of value addition activities include grinding sweet potatoes into flour which can be mixed with sorghum to make porridge. Mild alcoholic beverages can be made from peeled, chopped, pounded and fermented sweet potato. Such processing is only done when there is a surplus. 

In many areas of the county, sweet potato flour is used in making chapatti, mandazi, crisps and in making any type of baked food such as breads, cookies and muffins or can be fried to obtain potato chips. However, sweet potato value addition can be done in three levels: 

Level 1 - Post-harvest level/primary processing: this involves proper cleaning with water, sorting according to size and extent of damage, grading and packing sweet potato raw tubers for sale. This group of activities does not require training to be performed and hence most households easily carry them out. 

Level 2 – Secondary/ basic processing: this includes steaming, boiling or roasting the raw tubers. In addition it includes slicing, chipping, drying and grinding sweet potatoes to get flour. All these processes may be followed by packing. 

Level 3 - High end processing: involves activities such as frying sliced root tubers to obtain potato chips, noodles, candy, desserts. In addition it involves baking bread, buns, doughnuts and cakes using sweet potato flour, preparing mandazi and chapatti using the same ground flour or blending the boiled tubers to make sweet potato juice. This level also involves the actual packaging of processed sweet potato products, branding, and marketing. 

Initially, the utilization of sweet potato in the County was to consume by either chewing raw or boiling the tubers to act as breakfast meal. However with the vibrant introduction of low cost value addition techniques by Non- governmental organizations, farmers have gradually incorporated other activities of value addition. Value addition trainings have played a major role in educating farmers on the nutritional benefits, food security and improvement in income resulting from adding value to the raw tubers. 

Statement of the problem 
Over the years, previous studies have advocated on the benefits of adding value to primary agricultural products with a forecast that this may intensify production and lead to higher incomes to farmers. To achieve this, County government through the strategic Plan (Homa Bay County 2013-2023) has resolved to use the value chain approach to identify possible interventions through a participatory and iterative process to encourage value addition techniques as a way of enhancing rural incomes. While a majority of farmer groups have been trained on low-cost value addition technology, it is generally assumed that they produce the three levels of value addition end-products and fully engage in the market. However, it has not been empirically established to what extent the farmers‟ are actually involved in value addition activities and the effects these activities have on net prices and consequently farm income. This study aimed at filling this knowledge gap. 

Objectives of the study 
The general objective was to contribute to the existing body of knowledge on the effect of sweet potato value addition on farm income in Homa Bay County. 

Specific objectives 
1) To establish the actual levels of value addition activities in sweet potatoes practiced. 
2) To determine the net prices of products generated from sweet potatoes‟ value addition activities 
3) To determine the effect of different levels of value addition activities on net sweet potato income of farmers. 
4) To analyze the profit margins at different levels in the sweet potato value chain. 

Research Questions 
1) What are the different levels of value addition activities in sweet potatoes practiced? 
2) What are the net prices of sweet potato value added products? 
3) Do different value addition activities influence net income margins from sweet potatoes for farmers? 
4) What is the profit spread of margins among actors along the sweet potato value chain? 

Justification of the Study 
Uncertainty in weather patterns and the existing market potentials has led most farmers in Homa Bay County to diversify their production from maize and beans to other industrial crops such as sweet potatoes. Due to its benefits especially on its potential to improve farmer incomes, a study of this nature is imperative. It brings to the fore the needed information that will enable farmers to make rational decisions with respect to production and value addition. Consequently, an improvement in the level of farmers‟ income will impact positively by reducing the poverty level which stands at above 50% as per the statistics in the county‟s strategic plan 2013-2023. 

Scope and Limitation 
The study was confined to Homa Bay County and specifically to small scale sweet potato producers. Therefore the interpretation of the results may not to be used as a reflection of the impact in other regions where sweet potatoes are produced. In addition, the study focused on analyzing the differences in income due to different value addition activities in sweet potatoes. Lack of proper record keeping by some small scale farmers due to illiteracy was a hindrance to acquisition of perfectly accurate data. 

Definition of Terms 
Smallholder farmers- Refers to farmers with land holdings of less than five acres. 

Value Addition techniques- Value addition is the process of changing or transforming a product from its original state to a more valuable state .Value added refers to the additional value created at a particular stage of production or through image and marketing. Value added agriculture is a process of increasing the economic value and consumer appeal of an agricultural commodity. It is an alternative production and marketing strategy. 

Sweet Potato Value Chain- Refers to the full range of activities which are carried out from conception, through the different phases of production, transformation, and delivery to final consumers. It is also defined as a “set of interventions by chain actors (producers, buyers, processors) and/or service providers to generate higher value added and create win-win relationships among several chain actors”. 

Profit margin – It refers to one of the profitability ratios calculated as net income divided by revenue. Net income or net profit is determined by subtracting all expenses from total revenue. Profit margins are expressed as a percentage.

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Over the last decade Kenyan government has been supporting rabbit research and development activities. The efforts were aimed at raising the productivity of the small holders rabbit producers as a cheap and ease source of animal protein in the rural areas of Kenya despite presence of pulses. But inspite of the efforts rabbit production in Buuri Sub county stands at 1.2 Metric tons of meat against a potential of 8.4 Metric tons per year. This productivity gap is wide and indicative of poor and low performance of the enterprise in rural areas of Kenya and specifically Buuri Sub County. Thus the main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of rabbit production so as to increase its productivity through a better use of the factors engaged in its production and hence increase producer incomes and nutrient security of the people in Buuri Sub- County, Meru County. The study was based on a sample of study of 139 respondents, selected using a Multi stage random sampling procedure. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire administered on household heads. The study used descriptive statistics for the analysis of socioeconomic and institutional attributes of the rabbit producers. The stochastic frontier production and cost functions which are parametric methods were used for the efficiency analysis. The results showed mean technical, economic and allocative efficiencies among the rabbit farms were 36.83%, 39.54%and 13.46% respectively. The results indicated that allocative inefficiencies are more critical than the technical inefficiencies in impacting on economic efficiency of the rabbit producers. This suggests that the farmers were not minimizing production costs, indicating that they are not utilizing the inputs in the correct proportions given the input prices and technology.The farmers are not producing the rabbit output at minimum costs. Further the study found that the capital is the most important rabbit output enhancing variable among all studied parameters. The 2-limit Tobit model results indicated that allocative efficiency of the smallholder rabbit producers was positively influenced by education level, farming experience, farm size and training contacts at 5% level. The study concluded that the sources of allocative inefficiencies were brought by the level education and household size amongst the rabbit producers. The study therefore, recommends encouragement of young farmers to actively participate in agriculture, enhancing market environment, increasing incentives to farmers to allocate more land and capital increased rabbit production. Likewise increased access to farmer education, improved farmer-extension and research linkage and credit to the farmers led to improved rabbit efficiency, hence increased rabbit output and farm incomes.

Background Information 
Kenya's economy is heavily dependent on agriculture which contributes to rural employment, foreign exchange earnings and rural incomes all of which are important such that any broad-based improvement in rural living standards requires substantial productivity growth of agriculture (Nyoro and Jayne, 2005). Agriculture accounts for about 26% of Kenya‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment to over 80% of the population in the rural areas. Within the agricultural sector the livestock subsector contributes 10% of the GDP and accounts for 30% of farm gate value of agricultural products. Livestock production is a major economic and social activity for all rural communities in Kenya. Despite this high contribution from the sub sector to the national economy, it receives less than 2% annual Government of Kenya (GoK) allocations for its development (Nyange et al., 2000). 

Rabbits are micro-livestock mammals in the family of Leporidae are found in several parts of the world. They are kept by humans for commercial purposes or as pets. The rabbits are also part of the domesticated animals originating from one species of the European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) found across Europe and Northern Africa. Further, also they vary in colour,body size, and weight (1.4 to 7.3 kg). Some have small, erect ears while others have long hanging ears. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe and the young are referred to as kids (DLP, GOK 2010). The main challenges in rabbitry are poor resource use, marketing and inadequate credit hence low enterprise productivity ( Kavoi et al ., 2010, Lebas et al ., 1997; Onifade et al ., 1999;Oseni et al ., 2008).). 

The rabbit enterprise has the potential to be a cheap and sustainable means of producing high quality animal protein for the expanding human population in Kenya. Rabbits can be reared on cheap diets of forages and kitchen leftovers. They also utilize herbage (forages) more efficiently than cattle, shoats and the rabbits poses minimal competition with humans for similar food (Lukerfahr and Cheeke, 1997; Borter et al ., 2010).With good care a doe can produce up to 40 young ones per year compared with 0.8 for cows and 1.4 for ewes per year. Moreover small scale rabbit enterprises can be established at very minimal costs to the rural poor farmers in SSA (Lukerfahr and Goldman, 1985). 

One of the Kenya‘s key food production objectives is to have the country achieve food self sufficiency in all the food products including meat and meat products at all the times (DLP- GOK, 2010). This policy is based on the fact that an analysis of projected demand of meat and meat products indicates a large deficit of the domestic supply especially for the poor. The high poverty levels and malnutrition incidences in the country has pushed the government to prioritize rabbit development in Kenya over the last decade. This is because rabbit enterprise is a cheap and easy source of meat, incomes and employment to Kenyans especially poor women and youth. 

The National Livestock Development Strategy stresses and emphasizes on all stakeholder involvement and professionalism in the provision of all livestock development activities and programmes (Borter et al., 2010, Lebas et al ., 1997; Onifade et al ., 1999;Oseni et al ., 2008). This is geared towards the goal of poverty alleviation, food security and wealth creation in the country. Livestock enterprises productivity and efficiency in resource use at the farm level is key to the attainment of these goals. Currently, however, most production systems including the rabbit production are predominantly subsistence low input/low output system. This may suggest production inefficiencies resulting to the low yields of the rabbit enterprises over the years despite livestock development services by the ministry of livestock development in Kenya (Borter et al., 2010, Osen et al .,2008). 

Rabbit production in Buuri Sub County is an enterprise practised dominantly under small scale intensive management circumstances and economic efficiency is anticipated in such systems. Nevertheless rabbit production at farm level is low and stands at 1.2 metric tons of meat compared to the potential of 8.4 metric tons against a demand of over 20 metric tonnes of rabbit products per year (DLP-GOK, Annual Report, 2010). The average farm level rabbit live body weights is 0.5 kilogram while on research sites, mature rabbits weigh up to 8 kilograms. Likewise, the growth rates of the rabbits vary in big margins (KARI, 2005; Borter et al., 2010, Osen et al 2008).The small holder rabbit farmers are not able to produce maximum output with the given inputs. This may be due failure of the producers to combine inputs in the correct proportions at given factor prices to produce optimally or are prone to random inefficiency factors beyond the farmer‘s control. This raises the questions of production inefficiencies in the rabbit subsector. Empirical evidence suggests that improving the productivity of the small holder rabbit farmers is important for economic and rural development especially in the developing countries in SSA. This is because small holder agriculture provides a source of employment and a more equitable distribution of incomes in the rural areas of the developing countries (Bravo- Uretta and Evanson, 1994). 

Studies by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have shown that developing countries are where critical meat shortages‘ exist and the potential of rabbit production is greatest. The cost of beef, mutton and poultry in the Kenya is high like in the other sub Saharan countries. Moreover, the increasing awareness on health foods by consumers and rabbits being a cheap and nutritionally safe source of proteins especially to all especially the young, sick and elderly . These reasons have motivated many farmers to engage in rabbit rearing in the country (Wanyoike et al., 2012). Public and private actors are also taking the enterprise seriously and are now playing an active role in popularizing it. This is because they realize that raising rabbits is a worthwhile venture for food security and wealth creation in Kenya (Wanyoike et al., 2012). 

Since the rabbit sector productivity and production is low, there is necessity to establish technical and allocative efficiencies of small holder rabbit production in the rural areas of Kenya (Borter et al ., 2010). Technically efficient farmers would ideally be highly productive because they are able to use minimum level of inputs to produce a high level of outputs or produce maximum output from a given level of inputs. Likewise, allocatively efficient farmers run more profitable farming enterprises as they are able to produce a given level of output at minimum costs. This study will lead to improving the economic efficiency of rabbit rearing in the study area and thus a flourishing rabbit sector in Kenya. 

Statement of the Problem 
Over the last decade Kenyan government has supported rabbit research and development activities, efforts aimed at raising the productivity of the small holder‘s rabbit production as a cheap and ease source of animal protein in the rural areas of Kenya despite presence of pulses. Efforts towards development of the subsector in Kenya have focused on rabbit technology transfer and extension services .Despite the efforts directed at improving small holder rabbit production over the years low productivity remains a major challenge in the subsector. The current meat production of rabbit enterprises at the farm level stands at 1.2 metric tons against a recorded potential of 8.4 metric tons per year in Kenya. This productivity gap is wide and indicative of poor and low performance of the enterprise in rural areas of Kenya and specifically Buuri Sub County. One of the reasons attributed to this trend could lie in the way smallholder rabbit farmers use their resources. No studies have been undertaken to evaluate the efficiency of resource use in rabbit production in Buuri Sub County. The study aims at filling this knowledge gap by evaluating the efficiency of the smallholder rabbit farmers and determining the key socioeconomic and institutional factors that influence their efficiency 

Objectives of the Study 
Broad Objective 
The main objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of rabbit production so as to increase its productivity through a better use of the factors engaged in its production and thus increase producer incomes and nutrient security in Buuri Sub- County, Meru County. 

Specific Objectives 
The specific objectives of this study were: 
1. To characterize the socioeconomic and institutional attributes of rabbit producers. 
2. To determine the level of allocative, technical and economic efficiency of rabbit production. 
3. To determine the socioeconomic and institutional factors influencing level of allocative, technical and economic efficiency of rabbit producers 

Research questions and Hypotheses of the Study 
Research question 
What are the socioeconomic and institutional characteristics of the smallholder rabbit producers in Buuri Sub County? 

1. Rabbit producers are not allocatively, technically and economically efficient. 
2. Institutional and socioeconomic factors do not significantly influence the level of allocative, technical and economic efficiency of rabbit producers. 

Justification of the Study. 
Rabbit enterprise is gaining lots of popularity among the rural farmers in Kenya. This arises from a growing market demand for the rabbits and its products due to population growth, urbanization and tourism in Kenya. With declining land size holdings, rabbit keeping has the advantage of low demand on land and feed resources. In addition rabbits require limited supplementation: weeds , vegetables and kitchen left-over‘s are enough for their feeding. This means rabbits pose little competition for food with humans yet they are highly prolific , early maturing, fast growth rate, and efficient in feed conversion and hence more productive compared to other farm animals. For these reasons the rabbit enterprise is attractive to both rural and peri-urban farmers. The potential benefits of rabbit keeping and its convenience as a cheap source of money and food to the resource poor households in Kenya are immense and not fully exploited. 

Agricultural enterprises productivity, efficiency in the use of the available resources at the farm level does determine the enterprise output and productivity. This is true in developing countries where factors of production are limited and scarce. Small holder rabbit keeping economic efficiency is not evident given the declining productivity over the years. This study of economic efficiency of rabbit farming enterprise is timely and will help farmers benefit from the rapidly growing demand for rabbit products in Kenya. The results would help the development planners and policy makers in understanding constraints and challenges facing the rabbit farmers and also the opportunities in the rabbit value chain. This will facilitate the setting of proper strategies for the development of vibrant rabbit sector in Kenya. Moreover this will increase the income base for the farmers and consequently reduce the poverty levels .These will contribute in the attainment of the Governments of Kenya (GoKs) development goals, Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and vision 2030 in Kenya. 

Scope and Limitations of the Study 
This study was conducted in Buuri Sub County in Meru County. This is because of the extensiveness, intensity and dominance of rabbit farming in the study area and the high poverty levels in comparison to the other sub counties in Meru County. The rabbit breed types kept was not considered as an efficiency influencing circumstance in this study. Due to lack of farm records among farmers, the study mainly relied on the farmer‘s memory and their recall capacity in the collection of the study data by the enumerators. To improve validity and quality of the data collected, the researcher did proper training of the enumerators on probing, interview skills. The study was limited to backyard rabbit farming enterprises in a household due to its dominance among the farmers in the study area. 

Definition of Terms 
Backyard farming enterprises: Farming activities that are practiced within homestead by the farmers. They can be for food or income generation and do contribute significantly to poverty reduction and food security in the rural areas. 

Rabbit keeping: This is the art and science of keeping rabbit for meat, fur, pet animals or as laboratory animals. 

Rabbit breeds: These are the type of rabbits that are kept by the farmers. The popular rabbit breeds in Kenya are California, chinchilla, Flemish Giant, and the New Zealand White and their crosses. 

Allocative efficiency: Measures a production farms ability to choose the input combination that minimizes cost of production given the best available technology. 

Technical efficiency refers to the ability of a firm / farm to avoid wastage either by producing as much output as technology allows and input usage allow or by using as little input as required by technology and output production. Technical efficiency has, therefore, both an input conserving and output promoting argument. According to Koopmans (1951), a producer is technically efficient if an increase in any output requires a reduction in at least one other output or an increase in at least one input, and if a reduction in any input required an increase in at least one other input or reduction in at least one output. Technically efficient producer could produce the same output with less of at least one input or could use the same input to produce more of at least one output 

Economic efficiency: Economic efficiency is a product of the two components namely: technical and allocative efficiencies. 

Efficiency: is a term often used interchangeably with productivity in economics literatures. It refers to how well a system or unit of production performs in the use of resources to produce outputs given available technology relative to a standard (frontier) production. Productivity on the other hand is definable in terms of individual resources or a combination of them (Fried, 2008). Ideally, efficiency is inherently unobservable while its estimation is often derived indirectly after taking into account relevant phenomenon, usually the relationship between outputs, inputs, their prices and the behavioural objectives of the production units of interest (Nguyen and Coelli, 2009).

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