Effect of Muhoroni sugar company’s practices on livelihood of sugarcane out-growers in Muhoroni District, Kenya
A person’s livelihood refers to their “means of securing the necessities of life”, it entails a set of economic activities, involving self employment or wage employment by using ones endowment (both human and material) to generate adequate resources for meeting their requirements of self and household on a sustainable basis with dignity. Sugarcane out-growers’ livelihood depends on availability and accessibility of farm production. There is little empirical evidence on effect sugar company practices on livelihood of sugarcane out-growers that would facilitate evidence based planning, a gap which the study intended to fill. The study sought to assess sugarcane out-growers views on effect Muhoroni sugar Company practices on their livelihood in Muhoroni district, Kenya. The study was guided by four objectives which included; to establish effect of company practices on education of sugarcane out growers in Muhoroni district, to examine effect of company practices on health of sugarcane out growers in Muhoroni district, to determine effect of company practices on food security of sugarcane out growers in Muhoroni district, to assess the effect of company practices on housing of sugarcane out-growers in Muhoroni district. The study adopted descriptive survey research design to seek views of 370 sugarcane out-growers chosen by stratified random sampling technique from the target population of 5000 sugarcane out-growers in four admistrative divisions in Muhoroni sub - county namely Koru, Muhoroni, Chemelil and Fourt Tenan. Questionnaires were used in the study for data collection. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics based on frequency distribution and percentage counts while qualitative data was organized into various themes of the study and reported narratively. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used as tools for data analysis. The researcher came up with findings, conclusion and recommendations that may influence policy formulation. The study findings revealed that most sugarcane out –growers 216 (59%) were not satisfied with remuneration offered by the company in terms of delay in remitting the cash and reluctance in reviewing remuneration to be in tendon with the current economic reality, as a result majority of the farmers were unable to sustain their children in school due to lack of school fees. The findings also showed that majority of sugarcane out –growers 221(60.5%) cannot afford the minimum number of three meals per day. On health, the study established that most cane farmers 217(59.5%) preferred health facilities for their source of medication but the problem was that majority at 259 ( 71%) could not afford the drugs prescribed by the doctors . Further findings revealed that most farmers at 239(65.4%) rated the general condition of their houses to be poor. Some of the conclusion drawn from the findings were that most sugarcane out –growers were not able to educate their children due to delay in payment by the company, most farmers were not able to afford meals as they desire, live in bad houses and unable to afford drugs prescribed due to financial constraints. This study recommends that the company improves the remuneration offered to farmers and make an effort to release the cash in time to enable sugarcane out –growers have decent livelihood.