Factors influencing performance of community based projects: A case of Fish farming in Nyeri County, Kenya
Fish farming is of great social and economic significance to Kenya. When integrated with agriculture, fish farming may enhance cultivation of marginal land; recycling of crop residues as pond inputs, use of fishponds as water catchment points for irrigation, processing of crop waste into fertilizer mud and control of water supply thereby reducing floods. Under drought conditions, ponds may contain some residual moisture in bottom soils where vegetables can be produced for food and income throughout the period. In addition, fish farming can greatly enhance the income of rural people. The study aimed at establishing the factors that influence community based fish farming projects in Nyeri County, an area that is traditionally not a fish farming area. To this end, the study scrutinized the influence of financial factors on the performance of community based fish farming projects, the influence of stakeholders’ skills and knowledge on the performance of fish farming community based projects, the influence of sociocultural factors on the performance of community based fish farming projects and the influence of technology innovation on the performance of community based fish farming projects in Nyeri County. The study used descriptive survey approach. The target population of the study was 407 which was made up of 43 group leaders, 359 fish farmers and 5 District Fisheries Officers (DFOs). A sample size of 83 was taken which included 43 group leaders, 35 fish farmers and 5 District Fishery Officers (DFOs). The study used a questionnaire to gather data from the 83 respondents. The data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The study established that the performance of community based projects was greatly influenced by the level of funding as most of the funding came from the member contributions which are usually limited. The skills and knowledge of the project leaders was also another factor affecting the projects’ performance as the leaders are not well trained in project management and therefore lack the capacity to effectively manage the projects. Most of the members of the community are yet to embrace fish consumption and therefore local market for the harvest is still low in the area which leads to low profitability and wastage. The study also showed that the projects have not adopted the use of advanced technology as majority are still using traditional fish farming methods as well as methods of preservation. The study recommends that the Government of Kenya be more involved in the community based projects by investing more in terms of funding as well as providing advanced equipment. The project leaders should be trained more on project management in order to equip them with adequate skills to effectively manage the projects. The project leaders should also develop marketing strategies to ensure that their produce can be sold in other areas. The donors should invest more funds in the community based projects as well as introduce advanced fish farming technology that has been found effective elsewhere.