Beekeepers' participation in group-based financial institutions and adoption of improved technologies in arid and semi-arid lands a case of Makueni district-Kenya
The problem of low agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa is currently one of the fundamental concerns of policy makers. In the Beekeeping sub-sector, the issue of low honey production has engaged policy makers and researchers in strategizing on how to modernize small-scale beekeeping through the introduction of improved technologies. Production under traditional log hive technology over the period has resulted in both low honey output and quality and has not conformed to the dynamic market demands. Studies have been undertaken on technology adoption and some of them consider access to group-based financial institutions as one of the factors that affect adoption decisions in resource constrained areas. However, very little is known about the effect of this access to group-based financial institutions (GBFIs) on the adoption process under different socio-economic conditions. This study aimed at clarifying various factors that influence the adoption of improved honey production technologies and the role of group-based financial institutions in this process in Makueni district of Kenya's Eastern Province. Following the declining honey production in an area classified as a beekeeping zone, and increasing poverty levels, there was a need to determine participation in group-based financial institutions, ascertain the adoption trend of improved honey production technologies as a result of this participation and to assess the profitability of improved honey production technologies given participation. The study used both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected from a total of 130 beekeepers participating and non-participating in group-based financial institutions in August/September 2005 using a single-visit survey approach. 3 divisions were purposively selected based on the distribution of beehives and membership in group-based financial institutions. 3 locations were selected randomly from these divisions and a stratified sample of beekeepers from beekeeping groups registered with the Ministry of Gender, Culture and Social Services interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Secondary data was collected at the district level. 2 A combination of analytical techniques was applied, including the X test, logit 2 regression analysis and profitability analysis. The result of the X test showed that improved beekeeping technologies were used more by beekeepers participating in groupbased financial institutions than those not participating. Logit regression analysis showed that extension service, education, distance to the market and the size of the livestock herd significantly influenced the beekeepers decision to participate in group-based financial institutions. The logit adoption models results further indicated that credit programme access had a significant effect on the beekeepers' decision to adopt a technology. The results found that a 10 percent increase in the absolute value of participation in groupi based financial institutions raises the probability of adoption of log hive by 2.8 percent, Kenya Top Bar Hive (KTBH) by 0.31 percent and Langstroth hive by 0.44 percent. There was no significant influence of participation in group-based credit programme on the adoption of Soil block hive. The results of the prediction models showed that the model did well in predicting the choice of participation in group-based financial institutions, log, KTBH and Langstroth hive adoption but its capacity to correctly predict Soil Block hive adoption was limited. Profitability analysis indicated that improved technologies had a high comparative advantage over the traditional technology under participation in groupbased financial institution conditions. The study came up with a number of recommendations towards enhancing participation in group-based financial institutions and adoption of improved beehive technologies. To increase the number of beekeepers participating in group-based financial institutions the study recommended that GBFls adopt an integrated extension approach and promote literacy trainings for the beekeepers in the short-run. The study further recommended that the government should invest in complimentary services (mainly infrastructure-roads, market services and strengthen free primary education) to improve information symmetry and ensure sustainability of the programmes run by GBFls. The study also recommended that the government should promote small livestock enterprises (like goats, sheep and poultry) to enhance the liquidity of the beekeepers and enable them meet basic conditions for GBFls' credit acquisition. Lastly the study recommended that the private concerns making the improved technologies should come up with strategies of lowering the cost of hives to enable more beekeepers access them with ease and manage the credit repayment demands of GBFls.