Economic analysis of factors affecting sunflower production in Machakos district of Kenya: a case study of Kibwezi division
The study was motivated by the need to find out why sunflower production has been erratic and declining in Machakos District in spite of the joint efforts of the Government and Oi 1 Crop Development Limited (OCD Ltd) to promote its production in marginal zones of Machakos. The investigation was done through regression analysis to estimate the slope coefficient between maize and sunflower; and sunflower and cotton. Correlation analysis was done to find out how sunflower production is correlated with other crop enterprises. Gross margin analysis was carried out to test whether the profitability of sunflower enterprise is different from the profitabilities of other crop enterprises. The hypothesis that farmers are offered a price which is not different from the break-even price was given a special attention. The results revealed that maize production has no significant effect on sunflower production. Also cotton production has no significant effect on sunflower production and there was no correlation between sunflower and other crop enterprises. The gross margin and breakeven price analysis results indicated that the profitability of sunflower-maize enterprise is different from the profitabil ities of other crop enterprises except one and that the prices of the sunflower seed offered to farmers are differed from the breakeven price computed. To promote sunflower production, it was suggested that a pricing policy that takes' into account the farmers' costs and returns and that incorporates all sunflower by-products should be formulated. The extension machinery should strengthen the liaison between research and farmers for effective extension services to train and visit farmers. The OCD Ltd should consider reinstating seed credit and provide other input credits to sunflower producers. Since most of the farmers practise intercropping, research efforts should go towards developing varieties of sunflower that are high yielding, early maturing and that are favoured by intercropping.