INFLUENCE OF SELECTED INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS ON PERFORMANCE OF COMMON INTEREST GROUPS (CIGs) OF SMALL HOLDER FARMERS IN GILGIL DIVISION, NAIVASHA DISTRICT, KENYA

ABSTRACT
The National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP) utilizethe Shifting Focal Area Approach (SFAA), to build the capacity of Common Interest Groups (CIGs) for performance improvement. A number of institutional factors play a role in determining how the CIGs perform. NALEP was designed to explore some of the institutional factors which include access to agricultural credit, commodity markets, and training among others so as to improve the performance of CIGs. Inspite of this, the performance of CIGs in NALEP focal areas within Gilgil division has remained low. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of selected institutional factors on the organizational performance of CIGs. The study used survey methodto describe the characteristics of the sample. It employed a stratified proportionate random sample of 120 farmers drawn from 15 CIG in Gilgil division of Naivasha district. The groups engaged in diverse enterprises broadly categorized into crop and milk production on a small scale. A predesigned structured questionnaire was used to collect ordinal and categorical data covering performance, credit access, market access and training. The questionnaire was administered by the researcher to 8randomly selected farmers from each group identified as CIG. These data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17, using descriptive statistics (frequencies, means, and standard deviations) and inferential statistics (multiple regression, spearman rank correlation coefficients and Chi-square). Hypotheses were tested at 5% level of significance.Key findings from the study indicated that access to commodity markets and access to agricultural credit significantly influenced performance of the CIGs while access to training despite being seen as useful and applicable did not significantly contribute to the performance of the CIGs. CIG performance was measured by level of enterprise production, level of cohesion, group leadership skills and level of farmer empowerment. The results of this study may be useful to the ministry of agriculture and NALEP to improve on the performance of CIGs in Gilgil Division and other areas through proper design and implementation of agricultural extension services.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
The shift away from supply driven to demand driven extension approaches has been occasioned by the inadequacies of past agricultural extension systems employed by the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Agriculture and other service providers (MoARD, 2001). The new approaches are implemented in a variety of participatory and group focused ways. In Kenya, the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme (NALEP) which was launched in 2000 has been implementing its Shifting Focal Area Approach (SFAA) whose major thrust is building capacity of Common Interest Groups (CIGs) to improve their performance and demand for extension services. The programme implemented the strategy in focal areas within Elementaita and Gilgil Divisions through enterprise based CIGs with different institutional attributes which held the key to their performance, sustainability and ability to demand extension services.

Over the years the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders have used various extension approaches. These early extension approaches were non-participatory and they were largely ineffective because they lacked farmer involvement and were top-down in nature (GoK, 2005). New approaches which are more diagnostic and participatory to technology dissemination have now been embraced. These include programmes like the NALEP’s SFAES which was funded by Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (MoARD, 2001).

NALEP as a programme was introduced to be participatory and also one that defines the target group from the onset based on biophysical and socio-economic circumstances. The mission of NALEP was to provide and facilitate pluralistic and efficient extension services for increased production, food security, higher incomes and improved environment. The NALEP programme utilized the Focal Area Extension Strategy (FAES) in dissemination of improved farming technologies. This extension is participatory in nature in that it called for a strong collaboration between agricultural extension staff and other extension providers. This strategy utilized the SFAA and the extension personnel in each focal area serve approximately 400 farmers per year (MoARD, 2001).

SFAA was implemented within the National Agriculture and Livestock Extension Programme Implementation Framework (NALEP-IF) and was co-coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development (MoL&FD). The SFAA concentrated efforts and resources in a selected geographical area over a particular period of time resulting in the formation of organizational structures among focal area farming community including the Focal Area Development Committees (FADC) and CIGs, around crop or livestock enterprises or natural resource management. The operational procedures of the SFAA were structured such that the extension officers and other stakeholders conduct extension mostly through farmer groups referred to as Common Interest Groups.CIGs as described under NALEP are enterprise based farmer groups formed with the assistance of the various subject matter specialists (SMSs) to take advantage of the various opportunities available to them. These CIGs are formed with an aim of empowering the farming communities in the FAs to take up agri-business opportunities with an emphasis on the enterprise-based ones that are market oriented and income driven. The CIG approach reinforces the need for demand driven extension (MoAandMoL&FD, 2003). It is therefore relevant for technology dissemination, commodity bulking, marketing or any activity that would enable the group to tap economies of scale.

Common Interest Group performance could be measured using a number of parameters. These include level of enterprise performance, level of cohesion, group leadership skills and level of farmer empowerment. The performance of these CIGs is dependent to a large extent on several factors. Some of these factors may include institutional ones like access to agricultural credit, access to commodity markets, and access to training opportunities among others. These factors were selected because they are the major thrust of the NALEP. Elementaita and Gilgil divisions of Gilgildistrict were among the divisions where this programme was implemented. The scope of the study covered Gilgil division that has 35 common interest groups. It was therefore important to determine how these institutional factors: access to agricultural credit, access to commodity markets, and access to training influenced the performance of CIGs in the division.

Statement of the Problem
One of the divisions where the NALEP programme was implemented was Gilgil. The performance of CIGs in Gilgil Division remained low despite the launch of NALEP in 2000 which focuses on participatory and group approaches. It is likely that this scenario was due to a number of institutional factors which influenced the performance of CIGs. The productivity of major enterprises by the CIGs such as maize, beans, Irish potatoes and milk had not dramatically improved since the launch of the programme (CIR, 2005). Average yield of crops were at an average of 5 bags of maize per acre, 4 bags of potato per acre and 5 litres of milk per cow per day. It was also evident that CIG membership was low with many CIGs having less than 20 members, there were leadership wrangles, poor turnout for group activities and groups were disintegrating. This study intended to investigate the following key institutional factors: access to agricultural credit, access to commodity markets, and access to training to levels of CIG performance indicated by level of enterprise productivity, group cohesion, group leadership skills and level of farmer empowerment in Gilgil Division of NaivashaDistrict. Specifically, the study focused on the influence of selectedinstitutional factors on performance of small holder farmers organized as CIG. The importance of the study is that it provides some solutions to the problem of poor performance attributable to institutional factors of access to credit, markets and training.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of selected institutional factors on the performance of CIGs among small holder farmers in Gilgil division, NaivashaDistrict.

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

(i) Determine the influence of access to agricultural credit on the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of Naivashadistrict.

(ii) Determine the influence of access to commodity markets on the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of NaivashaDistrict.

(iii) Determine the influence of access to training on the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of NaivashaDistrict.

Hypotheses
The following are the null hypotheses that were tested in this study.

Ho1: Access to agricultural credit does not significantly influence the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of NaivashaDistrict.

Ho2: Access to commodity markets does not significantly influence the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of NaivashaDistrict.

Ho3: Access to training does not significantly influence the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in GilgilDivision of NaivashaDistrict.

Significance of the Study
This study was carried out to examine the relationship between the selected institutional factors and the performance of CIGs within focal areas in Elementaita and Gilgil Divisions. The study findings that there were correlations between institutional factors of access to agricultural credit and access to commodity markets and performance of CIGs supported the assertion that CIG performance is determined by a number of institutional factors. This supports the organizational theory that recognizes that group performance is as a result of dynamic interaction of multiple factors within the individual and the environment. The study findings unraveled that access to markets had the greatest contribution to performance of CIGs, followed by access to credit. These findings may be useful in prioritizing targets for new programme interventions. Targeting smallholder farmers with access to readyand followed bycredit would contribute most to CIG performance. The NALEP managers, extension providers and other agricultural institutions may want to consider some of the findings of this study in developing future effective extension programmes. These findings may also be used in restructuring the NALEP programme so as to improve on the delivery of the service to small holder farmers.

Limitations of the Study
(i) The performance of the CIGs as farmer groups can not only be attributed to the influence of institutional factors brought about by NALEP in the focal areas. Influences from support to these farmer groups by other external organizations like NGOs may also have contributed to their observed performance. The researcher countered this by establishing the extent of external linkages and support each CIG received from sources other than NALEP.

(ii) The study focused on purposively selected 15 CIGs. In view of this, the generalizations and applications of the study findings might be limited to these CIGs of Gilgil District, Kenya.

Scope of the Study
This study focused on selected institutional factors that influenced the performance of CIGs of smallholder farmers in Gilgil Division. These factors were: access to agricultural credit, access to commodity markets and access to training. The study covered smallholder farmers in the three focal areas which had been implemented during the period 2000-2005. Fifteen CIGs were used for the study out of the total fifty two that existed. The performance of CIGs was measured in terms of the level of enterprise productivity, level of group cohesion, group leadership skills, and level of farmer empowerment. The level of enterprise production was with respect to the yield of major enterprises in Gilgil Division. These enterprises were maize, milk, beans and potatoes. The level of group cohesion was with respect to the level of farmer participation and attendance to group activities. Group leadership skills werewith respect to conflict resolution, financial management, democratic governance and gender integration. Farmer empowerment was with respect to extent of learning and implementation of new technologies. These various parameters were chosen because they were the main focus of NALEP (MoARD, 2001).

Assumptions of the Study
This study assumed that the strategy of SFAA was implemented uniformly in all the NALEP Focal Areas within the division. It is also assumed that the influence of environmental factors such as climate and soils on CIG group performance in the division is the same. Governance issues among the groups are the same so that it is not a confounding variable.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 58 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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