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.

For more Agricultural & Applied Economics Projects Click here
Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 67 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search for your topic here

See full list of Project Topics under your Department Here!

Featured Post


A hypothesis is a description of a pattern in nature or an explanation about some real-world phenomenon that can be tested through observ...

Popular Posts