AN INVESTIGATION OF THE EFFECT OF LAND SUBDIVISIONS ON SUGARCANE PRODUCTION: A CASE OF LAND HOLDINGS WITHIN SONY SUGAR COMPANY ZONE, KENYA

ABSTRACT 
The Kenya Sugar industry has not been able to produce enough sugar to meet the domestic demand. The low production of sugar and low income to the farmer is caused by unsustainable land use practices occasioned by uncontrolled land subdivisions. This research is important as it helped in identifying the priority needs of the farmers and how to address these constraints. The main objective of the study was to investigate the effect of land subdivisions on sugarcane production within SONY Sugar zone. The findings of this research provided vital data to assist researchers, development practitioners, academicians, policy makers, among others to monitor and evaluate existing relations between land subdivision and sugarcane production and to design new strategies and policies for sustainable land use management. The research used a quasi- experimental design that uses pretest – posttest control group design without randomization. The study population was 718 land holders who have continuously used the same parcel of land for sugarcane farming for the last ten years. A sample of 72 land holders was used. Secondary and primary data were collected and analyzed by simple descriptive analysis tested at critical alpha (α) of 0.05 significance level using chi-square test of independence. The findings of this research showed that land subdivision reduces sugarcane production. The farmers are subdividing their land to their sons thus resulting in reduction of mean land holding per individual. The study also revealed that with reduction of the land sizes, per unit cost of production increase; thereby, discouraging farmers from sugarcane production. The study recommends that for sugarcane production to be competitive, sugar milling companies should contract farmers with the land size that allows them to break-even. The study recommends that more farmers be sensitized to consolidate their family land so as to realize economies of scale. The government should also make legislation that prohibits land subdivision below certain minimal level.

CHAPTER ONE 
INTRODUCTION 
Background to the problem 
The demand for sugar in Kenya has been and continues to be higher than production. By the end of the year 2003, the country consumed approximately 650,000 tons of sugar against a production of slightly less than 450,000 tons. Similar trend of consumption and production has continued such that during the year 2008, production was 448,489 tons against consumption of 663,780 tons (KSB, 2008) leading to a deficit of about 200,000 tons. This annual deficit of over 200,000 tons is imported from other sugar producing countries (EPZ, 2005). Kenya therefore continues to experience deficits despite the fact that the country has eight sugar milling factories with a total installed production capacity of 696,000 tons of sugar annually (KSB, 2009).The under performance of the milling factories has been attributed to several factors for example obsolete machinery, high cost of production, and periodic lack of raw material. The lack of raw material (sugarcane) is caused by among others the low farmers morale and low farm income caused by continuous subdivision of land into uneconomical sizes (KESREF, 2001). 

In the sugarcane production zones there is unsustainable land use practices occasioned by uncontrolled land subdivision. This has lead to declines in production and productivity of sugarcane. Land being a vital factor of production in the economy has cultural and traditional value that dictates ownership and use. For instance, large portions of land in Kenya’s high potential areas have been sub-divided into uneconomic parcels, while some parts of the land in the medium and low potential areas are rapidly being converted into agricultural use despite their unsuitability (Republic of Kenya, Vision 2030, and 2007:20). 

The Vision 2030 pointed out that unsustainable land use persists even in 453 planned settlements schemes that have been established over the past 40 years. The legislative frameworks to handle land related cases are weak and the institutions managing land in Kenya are many and varied. In addition, land issues are governed by many laws and a complex legal process. This has contributed to a backlog of land related disputes in courts. 

The subdivision of land into smaller units due to increasing human population is responsible for accelerated land degradation and declining land productivity. This situation has compromised agricultural production and productivity in all agricultural sub-sectors. In urban areas however, proliferation of informal settlements and encroachment into protected land remain key challenges (Republic of Kenya, 2008:35).Under private land tenure system, continuous subdivision of agricultural land together with conflicting land uses like conversion of agricultural land to commercial and industrial use leads to land overuse and pollution in agricultural areas (Republic of Kenya, 2004). 

The Institute of Economic Affairs of Kenya suggests that public policy backed by relevant legislation should be initiated to restrict subdivision of agricultural land beyond some limits because productivity stands to suffer if the trend is not stopped. The Institute noted that subdivision of agricultural land in Kenya has advanced to such extents that most of the land presently held are uneconomical units with diminishing returns and overall declining value revealing that there is need to set limits on land subdivision (Institute of Economic Affairs, 2000). Indeed, it is possible that for non-agricultural land, the subdivision may be fuelled by the fact that the value of the land is continuously rising. Therefore this study focused only on agricultural land. Explanations given by the Government of Kenya to justify the declining ability to feed herself includes lack of a comprehensive land policy, uncoordinated sectoral policy formulation and implementation, environmental degradation, poor land use planning and management, continuous land subdivision and high population growth (Republic of Kenya ,2007). These have accelerated downwards the trend in agricultural production and therefore require responsive mechanisms so as to reverse the situation. 

The Kenyan government through the ministry of lands has recognized the importance and challenges of land use and management in the country. To streamline land issues, a national land policy has been prepared and approved by the cabinet. The policy seeks to address the critical issues of administration of land, access to land, land use planning, restitution of historical injustices, environmental degradation, conflicts, and information management. This policy categorizes land as public, community or private. It further recognizes and protects customary rights to land, protects private land rights and provides for derivative rights from all categories of land holding. Through the national land policy the government will ensure that all land is put into productive use on a sustainable basis by facilitating the implementation of key principles on land use, productivity targets and guidelines as well as conservation. 

Despite the measures taken by the Government and the industry players to improve the sectors’ performance and attain self sufficiency in sugar production, Kenya still experiences sugar deficits. Prevalence of such deficits and market potentials demands concerted efforts from all stakeholders to contribute to narrowing the perennial shortfall and devise targeted strategies of increasing sugarcane production. With the increasing sugar per capita in Kenya, the rapid increase in population and the existing export potential, there exists an ideal investment opportunity in the sector to further increase production capacity. 

This research analyzed the effects of land subdivision dynamics in the context of hectares under sugarcane production and land tenure system by empirically determining how these factors influence sugarcane production in Sony Sugar Zone, Kenya. The result of this research could aid and facilitate design of a realistic land use planning and management policy for Sony Sugar zone in particular and Kenya in general with a view to ensuring self sufficiency in sugarcane and sugar production for the country.

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Item Type: Kenyan Project Material  |  Attribute: 40 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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