Extension strategies that stimulate commercialization of smallholder farming aim to increase agricultural productivity. The National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP) working with smallholder farmers introduced Common Interest Groups (CIGs) approach. CIG is a congregation of farmers brought together for the purpose of imparting technologies to increase farm productivity. When farmers come together through indigenous chicken Common Interest Groups, it is expected that this would influence productivity of indigenous chicken. However influence of common interest group membership on productivity of indigenous chicken among smallholder farmers remains unclear despite efforts put in promoting membership. The study determined the influence of CIGs membership on productivity from smallholder indigenous chicken enterprise. This may enhance other stakeholder strategies to use CIGs as avenues to improve indigenous chicken productivity. Study population were the smallholder indigenous chicken famers who belonged to IC CIGs. The study used Cross-Sectional survey design and 135 respondents were randomly selected from 20 active indigenous chicken CIGs. Data was collected using open and closed-ended questionnaire. Validity of the instrument was checked and its content reviewed. Reliability of the intrument was tested using Cronbach’s Alpha Coefficient. A reliability coefficient of 0.801 was obtained. Data was analyzed through Statistical Package for Social Sciences. Descriptive statistics used included frequencies, percentages and means. Null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Inferential statistics used were Chi- square (McNemars) test and Simple paired t-test on collected data. The study revealed significant influence of CIGs membership on management practices, quantity of products and income from indigenous chicken (p<0.001). In conclusion, membership of Common Interest Groups influences positively the productivity of indigenous chicken enterprise. The study recommends that for improved indigenous chicken productivity, farmers to join and participate in Common Interest Groups. It further recommends other development organizations to use CIG members to enhance indigenous chicken products and income thus support it’s commercialization along the value chain.

Background of the Study
Agriculture directly influences economic growth, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability (Wold Bank, 2008). Kenya government not only consider agriculture as a key economic growth driver in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but also as one of the strategies in the economic pillars of Vision 2030. To raise income from agricultural products, Kenya envisaged an innovative commercially oriented Agriculture. One of its strategies involved is to increase agricultural productivity. Agricultural extension is an integral component in agricultural development. In the recent years extension has changed its’ role to facilitate food value chain to match the changing demands and expectations of farmers and entrepreneurs. Due to these changes a national agricultural extension strategy that can effectively accommodate the dynamics of production is important to agricultural development (Swanson, Singh & Reddy, 2008). The dynamics of evolving agriculture extension includes: sustainable development, food security, equity and inclusion, commercialization and institutional pluralism on participatory approach. Following the structural adjustment programmes of the mid-1980s in several Sub-Saharan Africa states, governments relinquished support to state controlled co-operatives. As a consequence of this, farmer groups emerged in the policy agenda to fill the institution vacuum (FAO, 2010).

In Kenya, various agricultural extension approaches have been used since 1902 to improve agricultural production. Some of these includes: Farming Systems, Training and Visit (T&V), National Extension Programs I and II and the most recent, the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP). NALEP was a National Programme supporting agriculture extension in Kenya, operating in more than 72 districts by then, located in 5 provinces. It was a component of National Agricultural Sector Extension Policy (NASEP). Implementation of NALEP was influenced by several policy documents and frameworks. An example is the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS) 2006 document (MOA & MOLFD, 2006). NALEP was funded both by Kenyan Government and the Swedish Development Co-Operation (SIDA). It had several objectives. One of which was to improve economic growth and livelihood of the poor. NALEP directed considerable efforts towards capacity building, empowerment and dissemination of agricultural technologies. One of its implementation frameworks was formation of Common Interest Group (CIGs) to transform subsistence farming into profitable commercial enterprise through increased productivity. Common Interest Group (CIG) is a group of farmers having a common interest that often provides a basis for function. Farmer groups in Kenya like in other parts of the world were formed mainly with a social and economic function (Agarwal, 2010). The importance of these groups were underlined by the fact that the government and development agencies preferred to serve communities through organised groups (NALEP, 2001). The CIGs went through practical trainings so as to improve on management capacities and enable them connect to other input and markets sources.

NALEP used a process whereby in a selected district, a District Stakeholder Forum selects a division where few or no development agencies were active. Division Stakeholder Forum was established consisting of male and female farmers, projects and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives, commercial representatives, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The Division extension team, together with Field extension workers, carried situation analysis including poverty mapping and individual farm planning. Relevant opportunities were identified and Common Interest Groups (CIGs) were formed based on farmers’ choices. These CIGs were the foundation for NALEP extension service provision. A Focal Area Development Committee (FADC) was democratically elected, trained and acted as coordinators of extension and local development work. It was expected that after a year in a focal area, FADC was to link groups with other stakeholders (MOA, 2006).

Common Interest Group (CIG) is a group of persons having a common identifying interest as a basis of its function. NALEP provided technical packages to CIGs to enable them engage in agribusiness. It embraced a shifting Focal Area (FA) approach which was locational based and encompassed participatory approach extension. CIGs are 20 to 25 farmers who willingly come together to produce and market a commodity of common interest. CIGS acted also as avenues for technology dissemination, networking with other service providers, holding farm demonstrations and trainings for other farmers (MOA & MOLD, 2009). The concept of formation of CIGs aimed at empowering the farming communities to take up agri-business opportunities that are market based and driven.

Over the years, indigenous chicken co-existed with mankind as part of the range of domesticated livestock. The importance of indigenous chicken (IC) in the farming systems set-up is said to be increasing due to a number of reasons. Most important being the relatively small space allocation that the enterprise demands as compared to the larger livestock types and crop enterprises (Waithaka, Thornton, Heneto & Gonzale, 2005). The availability of the IC across homesteads and various types of farm families also suggests the level of their popularity based on some desirable factors.

Kisumu East Sub-County indigenous chicken population is estimated at 48,000 and is kept in almost every rural household for family food and income (MOLD, 2011). Majority of the households (87%) still keep these chicken for subsistence and maintain them under various levels in productivity (Teketel, 1986; Tadelle, Kijora & Peters, 2003). Enhanced indigenous chicken productivity is considered a potential pathway out of poverty for the rural household (Upton, 2003). The economic pillar of Kenya Vision 2030 is to promote food security reduce poverty and improve livelihoods. Indigenous chicken contributes towards the fulfillment of this vision and may contribute towards reaching the Millennium Development Goal number one objective (To reduce by half the number of people living in absolute poverty, by 2015), if practiced as agri-business.

Over ten years of NALEP implementation in Kisumu East sub-county, forty (40) indigenous chicken CIGs were formed, registered formally and trained in different focal areas within the sub-county. NALEP’s aim was to transform subsistence indigenous chicken productivity into market oriented production through trainings on poultry management practices like housing, feeding, diseases control and breeding. Adoption of these practices would impact on reduced chicken mortality, improved egg hatchability, healthy and increased flock. This would result into increased market volumes thereby improving the farmers’ livelihood.

Statement of the Problem
Strategies to reduce food insecurity and improve economic status of the rural small scale farmers have been wanting in most developing countries. Kenya implemented various agricultural extension progamme in order to improve agricultural productivity so as to reduce poverty. Key to this was the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP). NALEP used resources to train small scale farmers within different focal areas in order to transform subsistence farming into market oriented and income driven enterprises. It encouraged the formation of Common Interest Groups (CIGs). The formation of CIGs was to involve the members in joint trainings, production and marketing of various agricultural products. When farmers come together through indigenous chicken Common Interest Groups, it is expected that this would influence productivity of indigenous chicken. However influence of common interest group membership on productivity among smallholder IC farmers remains unclear despite efforts put in promoting membership since 2002, hence the reason for the study.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to determine the influence of Common Interest Group membership on productivity from smallholder indigenous chicken enterprise in Kisumu East sub- county, Kisumu County.

Objectives of the Study
The following specific objectives guided the study:

i) To determine changes in indigenous chicken management practices associated with Common Interest Group membership.

ii) To establish the changes in quantity of indigenous chicken products and by- product associated with Common Interest Group membership.

iii) To determine the effects of Common Interest Group membership on income from indigenous chicken production.

Hypotheses of the Study
The study was guided by hypotheses derived from the objectives:

H01. Common Interest Group membership has no statistically significant association with indigenous chicken enterprise management practices.

H02. Common Interest Group membership has no statistically significant association with quantity of products and by-product produced from indigenous chicken enterprise.

H03. Common Interest Group membership has no statistically significant effect on income from indigenous chicken enterprise.

Significance of the Study
The study determined the influence of CIGs membership on productivity from smallholder indigenous chicken enterprise in Kisumu East sub-county. Indigenous chicken (Gallus domesticus) play important roles in the livelihood of rural households in western Kenya (GOK, 2005). By documenting the influence of Common Interest Group membership on smallholder indigenous chicken productivity, future extension programmes that would transform indigenous chicken from subsistence to commercial would be able to apply and promote the approach to imrove indigenous chicken production. Other extension providers may use the findings to enhance the packaging and delivery of technologies and services. Implementers of participatory extension approach may use the finding to consolidate the benefits of group approach and membership of CIGs to strengthen extension delivery. The study may enable farmers to make informed choices regarding membership, which may help them access technologies, network with other key players in the agricultural sector, improve their income and food security thus reducing poverty levels within the sub- county and other similar parts of the country.

The study may help group members to create and sustain working partnership with extension, research and other actors in the poultry sector. Finally policy makers may use the outcome in formulating strategies to facilitate extension programme and implementation. The study also adds value to the pool of knowledge on indigenous chicken productivity as a way to rural development and a pathway out of poverty in Kisumu County where keeping of indigenous chicken is popular.

Scope of the Study
The study was confined to NALEP focal areas within Kisumu East sub- county. It focused on changes ealised in management practices, production volumes and income attributed with CIG membership. The independent variables of the study were membership before and as members, intervening variables were National Agricultural Extension Policy and Extension delivery, while dependent variables were the management practices quantity of products and by- product and income.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was guided by the following assumptions:

i) The farmers who were involved in indigenous chicken Common interest groups were trained in the enterprise and that they gave honest information.

iii) The influence of National Agriculture Sector Extension Policy (NASEP) was significantly uniform among the members in the sub-county.

iii) Social, political and policy environment were common to all farmers.

Limitation of the Study
The study relied not only on farmers’ ability to recall but also on indigenous chicken records kept to capture the needed data. This limitation was addressed by using a larger sample size to minimize the error.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 60 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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