INFLUENCE OF AGRICULTURAL WATER TECHNOLOGIES ON FARM INCOME OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN LARE DIVISION NAKURU COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Rainfall variability affects agricultural output which in turn affects farmers‟ farm income. Some smallholders farmers in Lare Division have been using agricultural water technologies namely water harvesting, water storage and irrigation in order to boost their farm income. However, it is not clear whether the agricultural water technologies have influenced farm income of smallholder farmers in the Division as scant literature exists. This study sought to investigate the influence of water technologies on smallholder farmers‟ farm income. Ex-post facto correlation research design was used. From a target population of 3,605 households, 114 users of agricultural water technologies were first purposely and then randomly selected for the study. A researcher administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The data collecting tool was pilot tested on 30 farmers in Elementaita Division and yielded Cronbach‟s alpha reliability coefficient of α = 0.825. Statistical Package for Social Science‟s (SPSS) was used to analyze data. Frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations of descriptive statistics were used to describe the farmers‟ demographic characteristics. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the influence of agricultural water technologies on smallholder farm income. Agricultural water harvesting and storage technologies were found to have statistically significant influence on farm income p = 0.002, R2 = 0.739 and p = 0.030, R2 = 0.595 respectively, but irrigation technology had statistically insignificant influence on farm income. Inadequate capacities of water storage structures, water loss and insecurity posed by water pans were constraints in use of water storage technologies. Small holder farmers in Lare require empowerment in terms of general education, involvement in farmers‟ groups, use of water table recharging technology and use of efficient irrigation methods. The farmers also need sensitation on use of water use efficient irrigation methods. Study findings will inform researchers, extension service providers, policy makers and development agencies when designing interventions meant to boost smallholder farmers‟ water technologies usage hence their farm income.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Rural smallholder farmers mainly depend on income from their farms to cater for households members‟ needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education and health care among others (Manda, Kimenyi & Mwabu, 2001). Dixon, Tanyeri and Watenbach (2003) define smallholder farmers as those that cultivate less than 2 acres of land in high potential areas which may increase to 44 acres or more in sparsely populated marginal areas. In Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder farmers produce up to 80% of the food consumed and support up to two billion people (IFAD, 2010). Of the two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa‟s population that reside in the rural areas, the majority are smallholder farmers and are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable as they live in absolute poverty on small farms in rural areas (IFPRI, 2012). Smallholder farmers are faced with several constraints that include land tenure access rights, land management; credit access; access to input and output markets; infrastructure; extension services; institutional problems and more recently climate change among others (FAO, 2010).

Despite their precarious state, smallholder farmers have a key role to play as they are relied upon by most governments of Less Developed Countries (LDCs), to produce food not only for their households, but also for their respective regions and countries (Rauch, 2009). Kenyan, smallholder farmers are regarded as major players in the agricultural sector as they produce, over 75% of agricultural output (Adeleke, Kamara & Zuzana , 2010). They are therefore involved in achieving food security, poverty-reduction and agricultural driven rural development.

Although rain-fed farming predominates, rainfall in many of the drier regions of Africa is erratic and unreliable. Rainy seasons are short and there are often long gaps between rainfall events (AfDB, FAO, IFAD and IWMI, 2007). As a strategy to obtain enhanced steady farm income, smallholder farmers in Africa need to focus more on agricultural water technologies. Case studies done in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Niger by Ibraimo and Munguambe (2007) showed increased and sustained agricultural yields upon usage of agricultural water technologies resulting in better farm incomes of the rural smallholder farmers.

Agricultural water technologies of interest to this study are water harvesting, water storage and irrigation. They are ancient technologies and still form an integral part of many farming systems worldwide. They were first used over 5000 years ago in Iraq‟s Fertile Crescent (FAO, 2000). A study carried out in Israel by Zaide (2011) noted that the usage of agricultural water technologies during the 1990s was an important community development step taken by Israel farmers. Due to extended drought in the years 1990-91, the price of water apportioned to agriculture was increased by 47% and the supply reduced by more than 50% to deal with this water shortage. However by using water-saving agricultural water technologies like rain harvesting, storage and irrigation technologies, Israel farmers‟ farm income was remarkably enhanced. In Africa, rainfall scarcity has led to increased incidences of extreme droughts and reduced agricultural production resulting in reduced food security at household, regional and national levels (IPCC, 2007). In Mpumalanga Province South Africa, rainfall allows for one rain fed cropping season per year only. This prompted local farmers to use agricultural water technologies aiming at improving their farm based income. According to (WHP, 2009), evaluation done on impact of using these agricultural water technologies, to supplement natural rain, revealed increased farm incomes of farmers practicing them.

Water scarcity is one of the rural developmental challenges facing Kenya (WB, 2012). This is because close to 80% of Kenya‟s population is rural based and resource constrained smallholder farmers. This therefore makes the country highly vulnerable to rainfall variability since 98% of the country‟s agriculture is rain-fed (Mutai, 2011; UNEP, 2009). The water scarcity problem in Kenya has also been exacerbated by high population leading to high water demand, vulnerability of water resources, human encroachment of marginal areas and decreased rainfall amount and frequency of occurrence due to climate change (UNDP, 2009). Therefore, agricultural water technologies that would improve smallholder farmers‟ accessibility and efficient usage of the scarcely available water should be fronted. This will lead to high volumes of farm agricultural production resulting in improved communities‟ food security and enhanced farm incomes.

According to Kenya Rainwater Association (2011), rainwater harvesting potential in Kenya is estimated at over 12,300m3 per person per year compared to the current rain water availability of just over 600m3 per person per year. This indicates a significant water availability gap hence water harvesting technologies can be used as a strategy to make more water available particularly for smallholder farmers in marginal areas. Therefore, there is need to focus more on agricultural water technologies such as water harvesting, storage and irrigation in maginal areas such as Lare Division. This will boost food security and reduce poverty of the smallholder farmers hence enhance rural development.

Agricultural water can be harvested using two methods such as surface runoff harvesting and roof top rainwater harvesting (Zhu, 2004). Harvested water can be stored in situ or away from the point of harvesting. Water storage systems can be cisterns or ponds. In the former, water is stored in underground or above ground tanks while in the latter, water is stored in dams, pans and trenches. Where soil type permits, pan system can be cost-effective, as has been demonstrated by the farmers of Lare Division Nakuru County, (Tuitoek, Owido, China & Wanjama, 2001).

Lare Division is a water scarce area with only one permanent river Bagaria. The area receives a medium bimodal unreliable rainfall, averaging about 600 - 1000 mm per annum. The long rains fall between March and July while the short rains fall between October and November. This area experiences cyclic droughts every 3-5 years. This scenario has resulted in some smallholder farmers‟ adopting agricultural water technologies (ICRAF, 1997). However, whether agricultural water technologies have influenced the smallholder farmers‟ farm income is not documented. In Kenya, incidence of poverty is a major challenge facing rural farming communities especially smallholder farmers settled in marginal areas. According to Manda, et al, (2001), the situation is widespread and continues to afflict larger segments of rural population. According to Mati, Maibo and Oduor (2004), Lare Division smallholder farmers were generally poor. There were high food insecurity and low farm income. According to national census, 47.6% of population in Lare Division was below the poverty line higher than the national average of 46% (GoK, 2009). Smallholder farmers in Lare Division practice subsistence farming from which they derive their households‟ food and farm based economic returns as resources from non- agricultural activities are minimal. In such a scenario, could agricultural water technologies be fronted as an approach to reducing poverty of the smallholder farmers? This strategy is fronted because; agricultural water technologies would enable the farmers to engage their farms all year round, sell food surplus, increase income, improve livelihood and reduce poverty. Therefore, this study investigated the influence of water technologies on farm income of smallholder farmers in Lare Division.

Statement of the Problem
Rain water scarcity has resulted in low or failed farm yields. This has shown that dependence on rain-fed farming alone is detrimental to food security and farmers‟ farm income. This is more critical to smallholder farmers in marginal areas. Lare Division is a marginal area and is inhabited by smallholder farmers who are poor, have low education, limited skills and resources endowment. They also have limited resilience capacity to mitigate effects of climate change induced water scarcity and vulnerability. These farmers depend majorly on their small farms for household foodstuffs and income. 1.7% of population in Lare Division living below poverty line is above the national average. Under such situation, could agricultural water technologies be fronted as one approach to reducing poverty engulfing smallholder farmers of this division, through increased farm income? This study therefore endeavored to investigate whether water technologies namely, agricultural water harvesting, storage and storage has influence on farm income of smallholder farmers in Lare Division.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of water technologies on farm income of smallholder farmers in Lare Division, Nakuru County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The specific objectives of the study were to:

i. Find out the main sources of smallholder farmer households‟ income in Lare Division.

ii. Establish the influence of agricultural water harvesting technology on smallholder farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

iii. Establish the influence of agricultural water storage technology on smallholder farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

iv. Determine the influence of irrigation technologies on smallholder farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

Research Hypotheses
HO1: There is no statistically significant influence of agricultural water harvesting technologies on the farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

HO2: There is no statistically significant influence of water storage technologies on the farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

HO3: There is no statistically significant influence of irrigation technologies on the farmers‟ farm income in Lare Division.

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study may enlighten smallholder farmers on the influence of agricultural water technologies on households‟ farm income. Stakeholders in water and agricultural sectors may find this study useful in understanding farmers‟ challenges relating to use of agricultural water technologies, hence formulate suitable intervention entry points. Policy makers for example the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and Horticultural Crop Development Authority (HCDA) may find the results useful when enacting policies relating to water technologies usage. The findings will also contribute to the existing body of knowledge relating to use of agricultural water technologies for farming in water constrained areas.

Scope of the Study
The study investigated smallholder farmers who have been using water technologies for farming in Lare Division. It focused on agricultural water technologies namely, water harvesting, water storage and irrigation. The study investigated the influence of using the water technologies on smallholder farmers‟ farm income.

Limitation of the Study
Some respondents may not have recalled all information accurately. There was language barrier among some respondents. Questions were repeated and translated into vernacular for respondents to comprehend.

Assumptions of the Study
Every farmer used at least one of the three water technologies under the study. There were observable changes in farm income. Lare Division remained peaceful hence accessible during the entire period of the study.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 50 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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