INFLUENCE OF SELECTED FACTORS ON CHOICE OF LIVELIHOOD STRATEGY AMONG PERI-URBAN SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN LANET DIVISION OF NAKURU EAST SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Smallholders‘ farmers in Kenya have over the years been faced with challenges that constantly put pressure on their livelihoods. However, the greatest threat to agriculture as a source of livelihood in the developing countries is rapid urbanization due to population growth, urban expansion and informal settlements. This study investigated market accessibility, land size, credit accessibility and social status among factors that influence peri- urban smallholder farmer‘s choice of livelihood strategy as an adaptation to reduced land holding. The study focused on Lanet Division of Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya. Lanet Division was purposely selected based on its rapid population growth rate and its proximity to rapidly growing Nakuru Town, Kenya. The study used ex post facto correlation design. Out of 2,410 smallholder farmers in Lanet Division, a sample of 137 smallholder farmers was selected through simple random sampling technique. The study was guided by Rational Choice Theory. Data was collected using a questionnaire which was administered to the household heads. Validity of the data collection tool was ascertained by consulting two experts in the Department of Applied Community Development Studies. The instrument was piloted using a sample of 30 randomly selected smallholder farmers in Barut Division in Nakuru West Sub-County. Cronbach Coefficient was computed yielding a value 0.7725 which was accepted. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 23 was used for data analysis. Data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The descriptive statistics used were percentages, frequencies, means and standard deviation, while inferential statistics used was Logistic Regression. The level of significance for acceptance or rejection of the hypotheses was set at P<0.001 level. The study established that credit accessibility, land size and social status were significant factors influencing small holder farmers ‗choices of livelihood strategy in Lanet Division, Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya. However, market accessibility was found to be statistically insignificant in smallholder farmers‘ livelihood strategy choices. The result of the study is envisaged to give a pointer to link between factors influencing livelihood choices strategy. This information will offer insights adding to the body of knowledge to Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, policy makers and peri-urban planners. It will also provide useful information to scholars in community development.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Farming is the single largest source of livelihood in the world, where about 40% of today‘s global population derives its livelihood. Farming is also the largest source of income and jobs for poor rural households providing jobs for 1.3 billion smallholder farmers and landless workers (Food and Agriculture Organization [FAO], 2011). For the developing world‘s 5.5 billion people, about 3.8 billion live in peri-urban and in rural areas, where farming remains the main source of livelihoods (International Labour Organization [ILO] 2011; FAO, 2011). It is therefore the backbone of not only livelihoods in Africa but also the continent‘s economy where about 70% of Africans and roughly 80% of the continent‘s peri-urban and rural dwellers depend mainly on it for their livelihood (FAO, 2011).

The World Bank (2010) states that, Smallholder farms account for about 85% of the estimated 525 million farms worldwide, each occupying an average of about of 2 hectares of land and was practiced on about 60% of the world‘s arable land. Asia, Africa, Europe and Americas account for 87%, 80%, 4% and 1% of smallholder farming activities respectively. World Bank continues to report that smallholder farming directly supports about 2 billion livelihoods globally, and that the smallholder farmer‘s produce about 25%, 80% and 75% of the global, Africa‘s and East Africa‘s food demands respectively.

According to World Bank (2010), the global mean farm size- on arable land has been declining rapidly since 1950s. For instance, in the 1950s, the mean farm size was 12.16 acres per farmer. The mean farm size fell to about 1.25 acres by the year 2006, which was estimated to reduce to about 0.5 acres per person by the year 2040. FA0 (2010) also noted that, the mean farm size in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Sub- Saharan Africa and Kenya stood at 446 acres, 279.25acres, 67.5acres, 4.5acres, 4acres, 6acres and 4.65acres by 2009 respectively. The implication of declining farm size is that more and more farmlands are being converted for non-agricultural use.

According to United Nations World Urbanization Prospectus (UNWUP) (2006), factors accounting for the declining mean farm size include rapid population growth rate and urbanization among others. Kenya‘s towns‘ are experiencing population growth, urban expansion and an increase in informal settlements (Yamano, Place, Nyangena, Wanjiku & Outsnka, 2009). Urbanization, rapid population growth and conversion of farmlands to non- agricultural uses have not only led to the decline in mean farm size, but also made traditional farming practices in peri-urban areas unviable ((Jayne, Mason, Myers, Ferris, Mather, Beaver, Lenski, Chapoto and Boughton, 2003); Stambuli, 2002; Yamano et al. 2009).

In Kenya, farming accounts for about 26% of Kenya‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an estimated 75% of the population depending on farming either directly or indirectly (Foeken & Owuor, 2006). Agricultural sector employs approximately 4.5 million people countrywide directly in production, processing, and marketing, while another 3.5 million people benefit indirectly through trade and other activities. Up to 80% of this population lives in the rural and peri-urban areas. The agricultural sector is a major source of livelihood to smallholder farmers and has been identified as a key ―driver‖ towards the realization of the ―Vision 2030‖, which envisages Kenya as middle income earner economy and a semi- industrialized country by the year 2030 (National Vision Steering Committee, 2006).

Although mean farm size has reduced generally throughout Kenyan peri-urban areas, farm size reductions in Nakuru East Sub-County is higher due to Nakuru being one of the fastest growing towns in East Africa (United Nation Habitat [UNHABITAT], 2010). Lanet Division is a peri-urban area in Nakuru East having farming as one of its major source of livelihood (Ministry of Agriculture [MoA], 2012). The close proximity of Lanet Division to Nakuru Town has seen an increased conversion of agricultural land into non-agricultural activities. The division is also one of the most populated in Nakuru County, with a population density of about 1,862 people per km2 as compared to the county population density of 66 people per km2 (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2009). The increased demand for land, for property development, institutional development, establishment of industrial parks and hospitality industry among others have led smallholder farmers to review their livelihood strategy choices. However, it is not clear as to what informs the smallholder farmers‘ choice of livelihood strategy.

Diversification of income sources and bundling activities into livelihood strategies is a natural response in risky environments. Adoption of a livelihood strategy choices depends on available assets and conditions faced (Ellis & Bahiigwa, 2003). It is on this basis that this study examined factors influencing choice of livelihood strategy among peri-urban smallholder farmers in Lanet Division of Nakuru County. Specifically, the study focused on how farmers‘ social status, market accessibility, land size, credit accessibility and social status influence farmers‘ choice of livelihood strategies.

Statement of the Problem
Farming is practiced on about 15% of Kenya‘s agricultural land. It is one of the main drivers of the economy and also accounts for over 70% of employment opportunities in the country. Over the year‘s agricultural activities have been faced with disruptive factors such as rising urbanization and rapid population growth among others. These have resulted in reduced agricultural land sizes. Lanet Division of Nakuru County has farming as one of its major source of livelihood despite being one of the most populated Division in Nakuru County, with a population density of about 1,862 people per km2 as compared to the County population density of 66 people per km2. Increased demand for land for property development, institution development, establishment of industrial parks and hospitality industry has resulted in reduction in farm size per farmer, with farmers owning less than an acre. Despite these, farming continues to persist as a source of livelihood, a pointer to the ability of the smallholder farmers to adapt to the emerging obstacles. However, it remains unclear as to what influences the choices of these strategies. It was on this basis that this study examined selected factors influencing choice of livelihood strategy among peri-urban small holder farmers in Lanet Division of Nakuru County, with specific focus on farmers‘ market accessibility land size, credit accessibility and social status.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of selected factors on choice of livelihood strategy among peri-urban smallholder farmers in Lanet Division of Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya.

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

1. Establish the influence of market accessibility on peri-urban smallholder farmers‘ livelihood choices strategy in Lanet Division of Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya.

2. Establish the influence of land size on peri-urban smallholder farmers‘ livelihood choices strategy in Lanet Division of Nakuru East Sub-county, Kenya.

3. Establish the influence of credit accessibility on peri-urban smallholder farmers‘ livelihood choices strategy in Lanet Division of Nakuru East Sub-county, Kenya.

4. Establish the influence of social status on peri-urban smallholder farmers‘ choice of livelihood choices strategy in Lanet Division, Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya.

Hypotheses of Study
This study tested the following null hypotheses in Lanet Division, Nakuru East Sub-county, Kenya.

Ho1: There is no statistically significant influence of market accessibility on smallholder farmers‘ livelihood strategy.

Ho2: There is no statistically significant influence of land size on smallholder farmers‘ livelihood strategy choices.

Ho3: There is no statistically significant influence of credit accessibility on smallholder farmers‘ livelihood strategy choices.

Ho4: There is no statistically significant influence of social status on smallholder farmers‘ livelihood strategy choices.

Significance of the Study
Findings of this study is to inform the farmers on their choice of adopting appropriate livelihood strategy given their market accessibility, land size, credit accessibility and socio status among others. The findings were also to inform county governments, development agents and donors on infrastructure development and capacity building areas to empower the farmers in adopting appropriate livelihood strategies. The ministries of agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will to use the findings of this study to formulate appropriate polices that would enable the farmers cope with decreased agricultural land sizes in the peri-urban areas. It will also provide useful information for scholars and students of community development, urban development and natural resource management.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on choice of livelihood strategy adopted by smallholder famers‘ in their adaptation to reduced land holding in Lanet Division, Nakuru East Sub-County, Kenya. The division was selected because of its proximity to Nakuru town and being a peri-urban area. The division is also experiencing decrease in land size due to its rapid population growth rate. Factors covered in the study were market accessibility, land size, credit accessibility and social status.

Limitations of the Study
The limitations of the study were:

1. Farmers not having farm records about past farming experience.

2. Some respondents were unfriendly to the researcher. The researcher tried to strike rapport with respondent.

Assumptions of the Study
In this study it was assumed that:

1. The respondents accurately recalled information concerning their farming.

2. The respondents provided honest responses.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 66 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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