Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is one of the major vegetables grown in Kenya as a commercial crop. It is mainly grown in the open-field under both rain-fed and irrigation production systems. The crop has gained popularity as a cash crop due to declining land sizes as it can be grown on small-scale unlike traditional cash crops like coffee and tea. Since the crop is susceptible to diseases and weather conditions, the country does not have an all year round supply of the produce. Consequently, tomato production in Kenya has taken a new dimension of greenhouse production. The uptake of the technology has however been low with the cost of greenhouse installation and maintenance being cited as a major obstacle. However, studies elsewhere have shown that this is a short term problem but the long term use of the technology is economically viable. To validate these arguments, this study sought to carry out a comparative analysis of greenhouse versus open-field small-scale tomato production, in Nakuru-North district. The main objective was to provide insights into the feasibility and profitability of small-scale tomato farming. Stratified sampling procedure was used for greenhouse and open-field systems. Primary and secondary data were gathered for both systems. Primary data were collected through a field survey with the help of structured interview schedules, while secondary data were gathered through literature review. STATA and SPSS software packages were used to process collected data for 216 farmers of these farmers comprising of 96 and 120 greenhouse and open-field farmers, respectively. The Binary Logit model was used to determine the factors influencing a tomato farmer‟s decision to adopt a given tomato production system while gross margin and net profit was used in economic analysis. From the results, greenhouse tomato farmers had a mean of 13 years of education while open-field tomato farmers had 11 years. Open-field tomato growers had more farming experience of 11.5 years compared to 6.5 years for greenhouse farmers. The mean income for greenhouse tomato growers was almost twice, higher than that of open-field tomato growers. The Binary Logit results indicate that the decision to adopt greenhouse tomato farming was significantly influenced by road type, land tenure, age of household head, education level of household head, access to credit, farm income, experience, labour and group membership. Net profit/m2 and gross margin/m2 for greenhouse tomato farmers were found to be significantly higher (10 times) than that of their open-field counterparts, implying that greenhouse tomato production system is more profitable than the open-field system. These results imply that education, credit and infrastructural improvement issues need to be addressed for efficient and effective adoption of the viable tomato technology.

Background Information 
Agriculture is a leading sector in the Kenyan economy, contributing 24% directly and 27% indirectly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Government of Kenya (GoK), 2010). Of the agricultural sub-sectors, horticulture is among the leading contributors to the national economy accounting for 33% of agriculture‟s contribution to the Kenyan economy (GoK, 2010). The horticulture industry is also the leading foreign exchange earner after tea. In 2009, Kenya exported 350,474,113 kg of horticulture produce valued at KES 71.6 billion. In the same year, the country earned KES 153 billion from the domestic market worth of horticultural produce. The sub-sector has continued to grow at an annual rate of 15–20% over the last decade (GoK, 2010). The main country‟s horticultural crops include fruits, flowers and vegetables. 

Among the sub-sectors of the horticulture industry, the vegetable industry holds the future of the Kenyan horticulture industry due to the high local demand for vegetables with 80% of produce consumed locally (HCDA, 2009). One of the most widely grown vegetables in the country is tomato, which is grown mainly in the open-field for home use and local markets (Musyoki et al., 2005). It is also an important cash crop for small-scale growers with potential for increasing incomes in rural areas, improving standards of living and creating employment opportunities (Ssejjemba, 2008). The value of tomato produced in Kenya in 2007 was KES 14 billion (Odame et al., 2008). Between 2005 and 2007, the area under tomato reduced from 20,743 ha to 18,926 ha, a 9 % reduction, but in the same period, the total volume produced increased by about 5 % from 542,940 Metric tonnes to 567,573 Metric tonnes (Odame et al., 2008). The increase in production is attributed to the extensive adoption of high yielding varieties and other modern technologies by farmers. Since majority of farmers own less than 4 acres of land in Kenya (GoK, 2000), tomato farming will remain an important sub-sector to many farmers, because it is practical on small scale. 

In Nakuru-North district, tomato is one of the major vegetable crops, in terms of acreage (GoK, 2007). The crop is largely grown in the open-field and is mainly rain-fed. Various tomato varieties are grown in the open-field production system including: Roma VF, Cal-J (Kamongo), Fortune maker, Rio-Grande, Onyx among others (GoK, 2007). The vulnerability of tomatoes to weather conditions has several consequences. Water shortage and diseases leads to produce scarcity and hence very high produce prices. In the same vein, unfavourable weather may lead to reduced farm returns. With changing weather conditions, greenhouse tomato production is likely to become more popular as it provides protection against unfavourable weather conditions. 

Kenya has witnessed a start of greenhouse production of tomatoes since the year 2007 (Makunike, 2007). Behind its promotion in the country are various stakeholders including Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) through the Kenya Horticulture Development Programme (KHDP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, and agricultural inputs suppliers like Seminis Seeds, Osho Chemical Industries and Amiran Kenya Ltd, among others. In this system a farmer needs only 240 square meters of land and a greenhouse kit to get started (Makunike, 2007). Popular varieties in the greenhouse system include hybrids like Anna F1 among others (GoK, 2008). 

Average tomato yields in Nakuru-North stand at 15 tons per hectare (GoK, 2007). This performance is however still far below the national production level of 30.7 tons per hectare (GoK, 2009), although it is a major crop in the district. The crop has some potential in terms of production especially if farmers adopted greenhouse tomato production. Studies in other parts of the world have indicated relatively higher tomato yields under greenhouse production. In Turkey, results of a research study by Bayramoglu et al. (2010) showed yields of between 89 tons and 114 tons per hectare using greenhouse technology. This is far above the given potential of 62.5 tons per hectare for Nakuru-North district (GoK 2007). To increase tomato productivity in the district, there is therefore need for adoption of improved and sustainable production technologies like the greenhouse system that are not only profitable, but also responsive to the changing climatic conditions. 

In choosing a production system for adoption, farmers are guided by various considerations including, costs, returns, and availability of information among other factors. Greenhouse and open-field tomato production systems have varying production costs and return levels which have an implication on adoption of either of the systems. Information on the economic performance of the two systems in Nakuru-North district is however quite limited and variable. 

Statement of the Problem 
Tomato is one of the important cash crops in Nakuru-North district that is replacing traditional cash crops like tea and coffee. Its production in the district has been conventionally under the open-field system that is prone to adverse weather conditions. As a result, there has been a remarkable decline in yields in recent years. This decline is attributed partly to the changing climatic conditions marked by unpredictable rainfall patterns and increased tomato disease and pest incidences. 

The greenhouse technology has been proved profitable and preferable to the open-field system, elsewhere in the world. However, in Nakuru-North, most farmers still use the open- field rain-fed system of tomato production reason being the high initial investment cost of the greenhouse tomato production system. This system may be more profitable if costs and returns for the entire economic life of the system are taken into account. Due to inadequate information regarding the profitability of the greenhouse and the open-field tomato production systems, farmers are unable to make informed choices which may explain in part, why there is low uptake of greenhouse tomato technology, in Nakuru-North district. 

Study Objectives 
The main objective of this study was to provide insights into the feasibility and profitability of small-scale tomato farming through a comparative analysis. The specific objectives of the study were: 

1) To compare the socio-economic characteristics of open-field versus greenhouse small- scale tomato farmers in Nakuru-North district. 
2) To determine the factors influencing the choice of tomato production system among small-scale farmers in Nakuru-North district. 
3) To compare the profitability of greenhouse and open-field tomato production systems in Nakuru-North district. 

Research Questions 
This study was guided by the following research questions: 
1) What are the socio-economic characteristics of small-scale open-field and greenhouse tomato growers in Nakuru-North district? 
2) What factors influence the choice of tomato production system among small-scale farmers in Nakuru-North district? 
3) Is there any significant difference between the profitability of greenhouse and open- field tomato production systems in Nakuru-North district? 

Justification of the Study 
Tomato is an important commercial vegetable crop in Kenya, with a potential for increasing incomes in rural areas, improving living standards and creating employment. It can also be a source of foreign exchange. The sub-sector‟s role can only be aptly realized through the adoption of not only the sub-sector‟s high production technologies but also its profitable systems. With changing climatic conditions and increased land fragmentation due to increasing human population, farmers will be required to utilize their resources like land and water, more efficiently for maximum productivity. For the tomato growers, it may require turning to technologies like the greenhouse. Although the technical aspects of tomato production have been studied extensively, studies related to the economic performance aspects are few, hence inadequate information on the subject. This study aimed to provide that information as it is likely to influence the future development of the tomato enterprise. 

Nakuru-North district was selected because it is one of the major tomato producing areas in Kenya (Ssejjemba, 2008) and due to reducing farm sizes as a result of increasing population, tomato growing will remain a favourable option for increasing farm incomes in the district. 

The information from study findings will hopefully, enable farmers to make an informed choice of the tomato production system to adopt. This may lead to increased adoption of the most attractive tomato production systems, leading to increased on-farm employment and increased yields, increased farm incomes, improved food nutrients and living standards. Findings of this study will also benefit other tomato sub-sector stakeholders like extension service providers, consultants, researchers, input suppliers, traders and policy makers, who will be able to make more informed decisions. 

Scope and Limitations of the study 
The study covered only Nakuru-North district. This is mainly due to limitation of resources in terms of time and funds required in undertaking the study on a larger scale. The study targeted small-scale tomato farmers. The selected key issues in this study were, socio- economic characteristics of the tomato farmers, factors influencing the choice of tomato production system and a comparison of the profitability of greenhouse and open-field tomato production systems. It mainly focused on a 12-months production season falling during the 2010/2011 period. Data was mainly from past information, either as recorded or as remembered by respondents. Hence, findings may be facing the limitation of memory lapses. 

Definition of key terms 
Comparative analysis: - The item-by-item comparison of two or more comparable alternatives, processes, products, qualifications, sets of data, systems, or the like (Business Online Dictionary, 2011). In this study, comparative analysis has been adopted as the comparison of the two alternatives of growing tomatoes using past costs and returns. 

Greenhouse tomato farmer: - Somebody who grows tomatoes under a structure covered with transparent material that transmits natural light for plant growth (Liu et al., 2005). In this study a greenhouse tomato farmer has been adopted as a farmer growing commercial tomatoes under a structure covered with transparent material that transmits natural light and measuring an area of at least 6 by 10 m2. A greenhouse of 60 m2 is assumed to be the standard, representing the most common economic size most often used by potential entrant farmers as a planning unit for entry or for expanding an existing operation (Odame, 2009). 

Open-field tomato farmer: - This study considered an open-field tomato farmer as somebody who is growing commercial tomatoes in the outdoor space that is not covered or protected from the sun or the outside environment. 

Small-Scale farmer: - In this study, this is a farmer who is operating on land size not exceeding 2 hectares. Most labour is provided by the household. 

Gross margin: - Is the difference between gross revenue and variable costs (FAO, 1985). Profitability: - Is the ability of an enterprise or a project to make profit, where profit is total revenue minus total cost (Lipsey, 1975). 

Market: - In this study, the market is the nearest marketing centre where tomato farmers take their produce for sale. 

A Group: - Any form of assemblage a farmer may belong to, that can benefit the farmer in implementation of agricultural technologies or improved production on his/her farm.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 73 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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