Factors Influencing Performance Of Contract Farming In Kenya: A Case Of Sorghum Smallholder Farmers In Imenti North, Meru County, Kenya.
Kanana, Mbaabu Christine
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The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that influence the performance of contract farming among sorghum small holder farmers in Imenti North, Meru County, Kenya. The statement of the problem enumerated from the poor performance sorghum contract farming programmes are facing yet the contract farming arrangement is believed to provide numerous benefits to the farmers such as market opportunities, credit accessibility and capacity building among others. The objective of the proposal was to determine the influence of interlinked services on performance of contract farming, the influence of income on performance of contract farming, the influence of sociological factors on performance of contract farming, and the influence of nature of the contract on performance of contract farming. A descriptive research design was used. The target population was obtained from sorghum contracted small holder farmers in Imenti North, Meru County. The target population for investigation was drawn from 1200 contracted small holder farmers from four locations in Imenti North. The sample size was 291 to whom semi structured questionnaires was administered for data collection. The simple proportionate random sampling method was used to determine the sample size. The reliability of the instruments was assessed using the half-split technique. The data was analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. A correlation analysis was done to determine the relationship between variables and a multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between the dependent and independent variable. The findings were presented in tables. The results obtained in this study were utilized in designing and implementing successful programmes in the sorghum contract market. The study found that farmers received benefits from participating in contract farming where trainings were received most, and then input supply arrangements, input loan while crop insurance cover was the least received. Further, it was found that in terms of the most beneficial services, the ranking was as follows; trainings, insurance cover, input loan and the least beneficial being inputs arrangement. The study also found that the farmer’s annual average income increased after joining contract farming and this was linked to high yields and high prices offered by contract markets. The study found that sociological factors have a strong and positive influence on the performance of contract farming. The study found out that most of the farmers that participated in contract farming were aged between 30-40 years and had attained primary education. Further, the study found that it was strongly agreed that the age of a farmer influences performance of contract farming and education level of a farmer influences performance of contract farming. It was agreed that the gender of a farmer influences performance of contract farming while it was undecided that the land size of a farmer influences performance of contract farming. The study found that most of the farmers preferred written contracts compared to oral ones. The study found out that farmer’s satisfaction and experience influence their attitude towards contract farming. The study concluded that income had the greatest influence on performance of contract farming among sorghum smallholder farmers in Imenti North in Kenya followed by nature of contracts, then interlinked services and sociological factors had the least effect on the performance of contract farming among sorghum smallholder farmers in Imenti North in Kenya. The study recommended that the government should contribute towards more farmer trainings through the Ministry of Agriculture Officers, involve research institutions to come up with new & high yielding sorghum varieties, assist the farmers by minimising the price of the essential farm input equipment’s as well as providing tractors for hire to be accessible to farmers at a cheaper rate. The study also recommended that farmers should be loyal to their contract markets and not side sell to brokers and ensure that the products are of the required standards to make sure that the consumers who are also the buyers are satisfied. Lastly, the contract firms should strive to sign more written contracts with the farmers which they prefer. The study further recommends that since the study was only limited to Imenti North in Meru County, a similar study should be done in other counties in Kenya and for other crop farmers such as Maize or dairy farmers.
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