Factors affecting performance of small scale fruit businessses in Nakuru Town centre, Nakuru municipality, Kenya
Kenya's vibrant horticultural industry contributes greatly towards maintaining food security, creation of jobs and generation of revenue for the state. The fruit market forms part of this industry. In urban areas, the fruit vendors are the main actors in the informal fruit markets. However, the importance of the fruit industry as a viable horticultural industry market outlet has received minimal attention in studies, leading to lack of performance statistics and poor cbaracterization. This study investigated factors affecting the performance of small scale fruit businesses in Nakuru town in relation to business location, awareness of local authority legislation, level of education and training and availability of finance. A pilot study was carried out in Nakuru town centre. Both qualitative and quantitative research and the descriptive research design were used to select the sample 205 fruit vendors who were categorize it into three homogeneous groups; ambulatory vendors, intermediate vendors and stationary vendors. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used as data collection instruments. 163 out of 205 participants successfully responded to the questionnaires and 20 out of 20 to the interview. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences and presented in form of simple tables, cross tabulation and percentages. The study established that business location is the main source of conflict between the local authority and the fruit vendors .. The designated business location for the fruit vendors at the market is overcrowded and the competition is stiff, and the areas outside the CBD are not frequented by prospective customers. Lack of or partial awareness of local authority legislative legislation resuhs into conflict and loss of business. The finding also established that education and business training would equip the fruit vendors with knowledge of relevant legislature and adequate skills to enhance profitability and expand the business. There are many financial institutions which offer funding for small business enterprises. However, the interviewed vendors shied away from taking credit for establishing and expanding their businesses for fear of defaulting payment owing to the risky nature of their business. This study recommends that the relevant government ministries recognize and support the informal fruit vendor business as an important vehicle for the attainment of MOO - Goal I; Eradication of Extreme Poverty through Job Creation. Education and training is recommended for the empowerment of the vendors to employ the best business practices as well as acquisition and management of finances. This study also recommends that the Local Authority conducts a research on the fruit vendor paradox with a review to accommodating the rapidly growing fruit vending business in the urban planning and development projects. Finally, formation or enrollment of fruit vendors as members of associations like KENASVIT or NASHA is recommended so that the vendors can have a forum for expressing their agenda.