The oil crops sector had been identified as one of the entry points in the execution of the food reliance and a vehicle for poverty reduction by government of Kenya (MoA, 2008). As a result many studies and development projects aimed at promoting soybean and sunflower in Kenya have been undertaken since the 1990s. While a lot of studies have been based on low adoption of these crops, challenges like gender roles, access to and control of the farmland remain undocumented. To address this gap, this study focused on gender roles and the related potential environmental effects during oil crop production by small holder farmers, in Lare Division, Nakuru County, Kenya. The importance of disaggregating gender roles, access to information by gender and awareness of environmental and gender policies were analyzed. The research adopted an ex-post facto survey research approach. Purposive sampling was used to obtain a sample size of 180 small holder farmers from 330 households within the study area. Data collection instruments included questionnaires for primary, focus group discussions and secondary data were also reviewed. The results indicated that the activities and production of oil crop was a gender crop. Male farmers owned land and accessed information through trainings but were not involved in all activities of soybean and sunflower production. Gender roles adhere to traditional and cultural codes on pesticide application, it was done by male farmers with no protective gears despite having been trained on safe practices. The study established that 58% female and 13% male farmers were aware not of environmental and gender policies. The study concludes that there was exposure to pesticide within the households and water bodies by contamination which interfered with biodiversity and habitat. No female farmers were aware of any policies though 35% of the males were aware. This slow of awareness is likely to lead to poor practices that are likely to increase environmental risks. The study recommends that there is need to promote policies, programmes and projects that improve both men and women's access to and control over productive resources, inputs and services equally at grassroots’ levels. There is a need to study the changes in the gender roles in agriculture in order to understand the cultural setup in different area. The understanding of such changes goes a long way in enhancing better projects planning and implementations.

Background Information
Oil crops are grown all over the world and in many economies; they play a crucial role in the agricultural sector. There are three groups of oil crops: Annuals which include soybean (Glycine max), sunflower (Helianthus annus), rapeseed (Brassica napus), groundnuts (Arachis hypogea), sesame (Sesamum indicum) and safflower (Carthamus tinctorius); Perennials: include oil palms (Elaesis quanensis), coconut (Cocos nucifera) and olives (Olea europaea) and by product crops like cotton and corn (Americanos, 1994). Among seed oils, soybeans and sunflower have had an extraordinary growth due to rising consumption of livestock products and concurrent rapid growth in meal demand; as well as the fact that they are cheap source of proteins especially in developing nations. Soybeans and sunflower account for more than 50% of the world oilseed output (Joshi, 2001).

As the world population continues to grow and is predicted to reach about nine billion in 2050, the demand for oil produce will continue to grow. FAO (2002) estimated that the future may see some drastic decline in the growth of aggregate world production by 1.5 percent per annum in the next three decades and 0.9% per annum in the subsequent 20 years to 2050. An increase in demand for bio-fuels could further increase pressure on inputs, prices of agricultural produce, land, and water. Governments, donors and development partners committed resources towards the development of the oilseed sub sector (MDG 2001). Currently, 40% of edible oil consumed within the region is imported as crude palm oil and blended with the locally produced oil seeds to be sold in the domestic and regional markets. There is an opportunity to increase domestic production to substitute palm importation. At the same time, it can also substitute the high animal feed imports (Andrew, 2003). There is also a high demand and potential for bio- fuels due to lack of sufficient energy or irregularity of energy supply for processing, lighting and production activities thus influencing livelihoods of over twenty million Kenyans and accounts for over 70% of oil production in the country (EPZ, 2005).

In Kenya, the development of the oil crop industry has been of considerable importance to the country's economy. Kenya is currently importing over 95% of her vegetable oil requirements at a cost of US $ 90 million annually (FAO, 2002). The consumption of edible oils has grown at about 13% per annum in recent years but production of oilseeds has been declining since the mid-1980s. At a population growth of about 3.4% per annum, it is estimated that Kenya will need approximately 250,000 metric tonnes edible oils, 200,000 tonnes of oilseed cake and an additional 500,000 tonnes for other (industrial) purposes by the turn of the century (MDGs, 2000). This demand can only be achieved by shifting to domestic production and processing of vegetable oils.

There is a strategy in the country focused on transforming subsistence agriculture to market-oriented farming (GoK, 2006). The oil crops sector had been identified as one of the entry points in the execution of the food reliance and a vehicle for poverty reduction (MoA, 2006). Oilseed contributed to food security; to the livestock sub sector through the seed cake as animal feed; to the energy sector through production of bio-fuels, energy that can in turn be used to support value addition in the oilseed sub sector through processing and packaging and can be used as forage for bees for improved production in the apiculture sub sector (KARI, 2008)

Sunflower and soy bean crops are widely adapted and they were among the major oil crops grown in Kenya mainly in the Rift valley and Southwest of Kenya. Kenya has suitable agro-ecological zones with potential for the cultivation of various oilseed crops and essential oil crops. In areas where meaningful research has been carried out (Okoko et al., 1998), it has been established that the presently low yields attained by farmers could be increased threefold if they adopted scientifically developed appropriate technologies. Prioritisation of oilseed crop research programmes would greatly facilitate and accelerate the generation of production technologies, especially so for those crops which hitherto have not been accorded priority as subjects for research (IRN, 2005).

In Nakuru County, oil crop production is undertaken mainly in areas with an altitude of less than 1200 meters above sea level, which are low lying zones. These areas include Lare, Rongai, Njoro, Molo and the adjacent areas. Oil crop in these areas produce for the local market which include the local vegetable oil manufacturers e.g. Bidco oil Company. Studies on sunflower and soybean production in Kenya have shown that although sunflower and soybean have good potential for commercial production, there are still some challenges such as gender bias mainly on roles, low land acreages leading to shortage of seeds for processing, poor agronomic practices mainly on fertilizer usage, and also low production yields (KARI, 2008). Other production constraints include socio- economic, lack of policy and regulatory bodies and cultural issues, lack of extension services, and climatic changes (Okoko et al., 1998). However, to sustain production of sunflower and soybean, it was envisaged that gender roles and environmental impacts should established to document ‘who’ does ‘what’ and ‘how’ and to assess impacts of oil crop production to the environment. Other production constraints included socio- economic and cultural issues, lack of extension services and pesticide usage.

Statement of the Problem
Oil seed production is one of the economic activities selected by the Kenyan government to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming level. KARI, MOA, FSK and Egerton University in collaboration undertook an integrated pilot study on soybeans and sunflower production project in Lare Division of Nakuru County, Kenya. The objective of the project was to address food security. Farmers were trained on production and management of sunflower and soybean crops. The requirement during training was that the oil crops be grown as a single plot crop (no intercropping). After implementation, the project soon fizzled out. The question was “why?” A needs assessment and concerns study was done (KARI, 2007). The findings from this study indicated that the trainings were done on a one sided gender (male farmers) only. Activity, access and control profiles were not addressed during project inception to ascertain who does what, how, by whom and when. Influencing factors and intervention from gender perspective was not done to identify external constraints and opportunities on environmental risks that would arise during project implementation. Therefore, this study sought to assess the gender roles and environmental impacts among small holder farmers during oil crop production in Lare Division, Nakuru County, Kenya. This study helped to understand different gender roles in oil crop production and the farming practices by different genders. The findings will hopefully give some useful insights on how these different gender roles were likely to affect the environment (negatively). By understanding these different gender roles and environmental impacts will create an entry point for future project implementations.

Objectives of the Study
Broad Objective
To assess gender roles and effects of oil crop production on the specific gender activities in Lare division, Nakuru County, Kenya.

Specific Objectives
i. To identify the oil crop production activities carried out by both male and female small holder famers.

ii. To determine gender roles construction in oil crop production.

iii. To identify and compare the potential environmental risks by gender of cultivating oil crop

iv. To establish awareness of environmental policies and gender in Kenya

Research Questions
I. Which activities are carried out by male and female farmers in oil crop production?

II. What factors determine the roles among men and women farmers in oil crop production?

III. Do women and men grow separate oil / crops on separate fields, simultaneously or in rotation?

IV. What is the ecological and human health risks associated with production of oil crop?

V. Do men and women suffer the same environmental and health risk hazards in the production of oil crop?

VI. Do farmers seek for extension services related to oil crop production?

VII. Are the oil crop farmers aware of the environmental policies addressing the use of pesticides in oil crop production?

Justification of the Study
A lot of literature shows that sunflower and soybean have a great potential in terms of food, income, nutrition and human health and soil health improvements through biological nitrogen fixation in the crop farming systems. But, no systematic study has investigated the actual impact of sunflower and soybean on the environment and different gender roles in sunflower and soybean production. The findings of this study will assist researchers and other stakeholders to understand specific genders’ roles during oil crop production and how these specific gender roles impact the environment.

Scope of the study
The study concentrated on small-scale farmers who grew sunflower and soya beans in Lare division of Nakuru County. It looked at gender perspectives in terms gender roles, access and decisions made during oil crop production. Investigations were also done to find out how the environment was impacted during oil crop production in regard to activities done which were: socio- economic and regulatory bodies i.e. land use, labor, educational levels, health and policies.

Limitations and Assumptions of the study
i. That everybody involved in the study would co-operate during the study period

ii. That all the study areas would be accessible.

iii. That all the farmers interviewed would recall the farming practices of the previous year.

iv. All households were not homogeneous. To overcome this limitation, simple stratified sampling was used

v. That there would not be any adverse weather/ political/ climatic conditions that hinder the scheduled activities program.

Definition and Operationalization of Terms
Access – In this study it is the equal access to the factors of production by removing discriminatory provisions in the laws. Do small holder farmer (women and men) have equal access to available resources?

Control – in this study they are the farmers on how they make decisions over factors of production. Farmers were asked on whom controls the available resources like land and incomes generated from oil crop production.

Culture – In this study, it includes a community’s reservoir of what defines them as a people which in most cases represents the best that has been known and thought. Through culture we are able to see society in its strengths and weaknesses and to see ourselves.

Environmental Impact- As for this study it was any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulted from the production of oil crops and genders’ contribution to the same. Farmers in the study area were using chemicals to protect their oil crops from diseases. What were the repercussions and how did they spray?

Environmental Right- In this study, every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment and a duty to safeguard and enhance the environment.

Ex-post facto – In this study it was the independent variable causing changes in the dependent variable. Female farmers in this study lacked access to information and trainings yet they did most of the farm activities while male farmers who were trained were not doing much hence hampering good land practices leading to negative land degradation.

Farmer- In this study it’s the person who works on the land and keeps crops

Gender - is used to describe those characteristics of women and men, which are socially constructed, while sex refers to those which are biologically determined. People are born female or male but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. This learned behavior makes up gender identity and determines gender roles.

Gender Analysis - Identifies analyses and informs action to address inequalities that arise from the different roles of women and men, or the unequal power relationships between them and the consequences of these inequalities on their lives, their health and well-being.

Gender Awareness- In this study it referred to conscious knowledge that communities are not homogenous and those benefits from development intervention do not accrue equally to all segments, sexes, and sectors of a community.

Gender Balance- In this study gender balance is the equal and active participation of women and men in all areas of decision-making, and in access to and control over resources and services

Gender Discrimination- In this study gender discrimination is any exclusion or restriction made on the basis of gender roles and relations that prevents a person from enjoying full human rights.

Gender Equality- is the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person's sex in opportunities, in the allocation of resources and benefits or in access to services.

Gender Equity- refers to fairness and justice in the distribution of benefits and responsibilities between women and men.

Gender perception- Is a term used to describe how individuals are classified as male, female, or transgendered. It may be used to describe group perceptions about gender as well as individual perceptions about one’s own gender.

Gender Relations- The ways in which a culture or society defined rights, responsibilities, and the identities of men and women in relation to one another (between men and women).

Gender Roles- Are conditioned by household structure, access to resources, and duties assigned to individuals at household level on the basis of being male and female.

Gender Mainstreaming- for this study mainstreaming gender is the process of assessing the implications for small scale women and men farmers of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in any area and at all levels.

Household- For the purpose of the study, it referred to a group of people living under same roof, bounded by common kinship ties, recognized one authority and shared same food daily.

Male and Female Farmers- In this study, it referred to both men and women heading households and carried out agricultural activities on farming household including production of oil crops.

Oil crops- In this study, oil crops were those plants that produced oils and protein meals for livestock and human beings.

Socio-Economic- In this case study they were people having the same social, economic, or educational status, related to, or involved both economic and social factors.

Participation – In this study it is the making processes related to policymaking, planning and administration during sunflower and soya bean production.

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