Factors influencing women participation in agriculture to ensure food security in Bar-Sauri sub location, Siaya County, Kenya
Abungu, Millicent A
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Participation of women in agriculture cannot be over emphasized than it is already. The research sought to examine the influence of women participation in agriculture for household food security at Bar-Sauri, Siaya County- Kenya. The study undertook to establish whether the effort put by women in agriculture translates into improving food security at household level. Various research conducted allover the world show that Women are the major drivers in agricultural economy as they constitute the largest workforce, according to research conducted by various NGO' S in 1991. The research also found that Women perform about 60% to 90%of farm work but only own 1 %proceeds and continue living in abject poverty .Bar-Sauri is a sublocation within Yala division with a population of about 45000. Gem District where poverty index has been on the increase since 1994 when it was 54%.It has since risen to 64% as at 2007, according to Communication Commissions of Kenya 2007, hence the need for this research. The study thus undertook to analyse the factors influencing Women participation in agriculture in Bar-Sauri to see if it translates into food security. A lot of interventions have been taken to this area such as the Millennium village projects which has actually done a lot to improve poverty level which was the objective of the project .However it must be noted that the project did not cover the whole area hence the need for this research to find out if food security can be achieved if Women participation can be enhanced. The objective of the study were to: to establish the extent to which economic factors influence Women participation in agriculture in Bar-Sauri sub-location; to establish socio-cultural factors that influence Women participation in agriculture in Bar-Sauri Sub-location; to assess how amount of land available can influence Women participation in agriculture in Bar- Sauri Sub-location and to establish whether policy and decision making can influence women participation in agriculture in BarSauri Sub-location. The study also sought to answer the following questions: to what extent does economic factors influence women participation in agriculture in Bar- Sauri Sub-location, to what extent does larid available influence women participation in agriculture in Bar- Sauri Sub-location, how does socio- cultural factors influence women participation in agriculture in Bar-Sauri Sub-location, how does policy and decision making influence Women participation in agriculture in Bar-Sauri Sub-location .. The study was guided by Participatory Sustainable Livelihood Approach (PSLA) and a conceptual framework showing the relationship between various factors influencing Women participation in agriculture. The study used a descriptive survey design that involved administration of questionnaires, interview of Key Informants to sample population of 374. Simple random sampling approach was used to select respondents and data was analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage counts and tables. The study found that Participation in agriculture was negatively affected by economic factors such as low access to credit, unfavourable lending terms from the lending institutions from the commercial lending institutions, lack of knowledge on areas to get credit, risk of taking loans by the women and overdependence of the spouse on income; socio - cultural factors such as large family sizes, HIV and AIDS, interference by the extended families in the land inheritance process in case of death of spouse, being short of title deeds. Land issues that affected women participation in agriculture was small sizes and fragmented land which also reduced women production of land. On policy issues, the implementation of provision of the policies such as national seeds industry policy of 2008, agriculture act of 2008 and national agriculture sector extension policy of 2005 was low; this made it difficult for the women farmers to get subsidies, improved seeds and extension services eventually reducing their participation in agriculture. The study came up with recommendations that can enhance women participation in agriculture, hence improved food security.