Influence Of Sugar Factories On Improvement Of Cane Farmers Livelihood In Kenya. A Case Of Bungoma East Sub County
Sugarcane farming is an essential activity in the whole world because of the major product it provides, that is, sugar. Sugar, which is got from processing sugarcane mills, is planted by mainly farmers who deliver it to the processing factory after maturity. Sugar factories are critical in uplifting the living standards of the people as well as generating rapid economic growth through provision of healthcare services and education facilities, social and community services as well as support to sports in rural areas in the sugar growing zones. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of sugar factories on the improvement of cane farmers‟ livelihood in Bungoma East Sub County. This study was guided by the following objectives: to establish how the income from cane supplied to sugar factories influence improvement of the livelihood of the cane farmers‟ livelihood, second was to examine how the Sugar factories influence education improvement of cane farmers‟ livelihood, third was to assess how the Sugar factories influence the improvement of food as a livelihood enhancement of sugarcane farmers and lastly was to determine how the sugar factories input influence the improvement of livelihood of sugarcane farmers. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design to assess the influence of sugar factories on livelihood of farmers. The target population was 9550 cane farmers and 10 AEOs hence a total of 9560. The sample for this study was 370. The sampling technique used was stratified sampling where farmers were grouped into locations and randomly selected. The research instruments used in this study for data collection were questionnaire for the farmers and AEOs. Data analysis used frequency tables and percentages to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data. The element of reliability of the measuring instruments was determined using the test re-test method. Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to classify and analyze the data that was collected. It came out from the study that farmers could get some income whenever their cane was harvested and delivered to the sugar factories and the income depended on the acreage of the land. The income accomplished many tasks in the family like paying school fees. It was also found that education status in the study area had improved, as whole generation of children had been enrolled in different schools. Sugarcane production had negative impact on food production to most of the households. Also it came out that the sugar factories management didn‟t provide dairy animals and maize/beans in addressing food security so as to cushion farmers. Lastly factories influence on inputs seen infrastructural development like of 59.1% of respondents were in agreement that roads had improved. The construction and development of roads and communication networks had enhanced the proper and fast marketing of farm produce. On access to information 66.7% of head of households agreed that they had full access and full satisfaction with reliability of information. Recommendations for further research werethe influence of the rising cost of energy on sugarcane farming, alternative modern farming methods that would integrate cane farming and food production to ensure food security and factors that led to the collapse of out growers‟ cooperative societies that championed the plights of farmers‟.
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