Influence of access to financial credit on modern banana farming techniques among rural women in Kisii County, Kenya
Agriculture in Kenya continues to dominate Kenya's economy, with women playing a significant role in the sector. Rural women farmers have for a long period of time participated in banana trade, though not as the sole income generating activity. However, rural women banana farmers in Kisii County benefit minimally from their banana farming business due to lack of awareness, adequate farming space and finances for acquisition and implementation of modern banana farming techniques. As such, the purpose of the study is to assess the influence of access to credit on the adoption of modern banana farming techniques among rural women in Kisii County in Kenya. The objectives of this study were to identify the influence of collateral's to access to credit on the adoption of modern banana farming techniques among rural women farmers; determine the effects of interest rates on adoption of modern banana farming techniques among rural women farmers; investigate the effect of cultural beliefs on the adoption of modern banana farming techniques among rural women farmers and; establish the effects of credit awareness on the adoption of modern banana farming techniques among rural women farmers in Kisii County. This study was guided by the Social Capital Theory where Norman (1941) argues that aggregate support is needed for optimal accomplishment of tasks.The research design for the study was descriptive as it highlighted the challenges rural women banana farmers in Kisii County were facing while accessing credit and other related forms of support. The target population was the rural women banana farmers, the MFIs agricultural institutions and agencies in Kisii County. The sample size was determined from the Morgan and Krejcie table as 380 rural women banana farmers and 9 officers from the three MFIs in the region. The data collection instruments were questionnaires and interview schedules. There were 2 rural women banana farmers from each division of the 3 randomly selected divisions and 3 MFI officers who were randomly selected to participated in the study through interview sessions. Data was collected and coded and entered into SPSS program for analysis where quantitative analysis was done through descriptive statistics while qualitative data was arranged into categories and analyzed through inferential statistics. The findings of the study established that access to credit by rural women banana farmers was a problem as they did not have matching collateral's for them to secure loans; the size of farming land for bananas is small hence low yields; their cultural barriers hindered their full participation in the farming business and; they were inadequately informed about the modern banana farming techniques hence adoption was a challenge. The study recommends that the rural women banana farmers be sensitized about the various savings and lending available; the MFIs revise their lending strategies so as to accommodate even those with assets that are not documented but are credit worthy; the communities within Kisii County be informed of the importance of allowing women own property as well as participate in business activities. The study suggested that the impact of culture on the on rural women farming practices be carried out to establish what role culture plays in determining the farming practices rural women engage in.