Factors influencing sustainability of passion fruit farming in Keiyo sub county, Elgeyo Marakwet county, Kenya
Passion fruit farming has gained a lot of popularity among many people in Kenya. It is grown and eaten as fresh fruit; it is sold for processing into pulp to be used in juices, yoghurt, ice cream and other products. There are many varieties of passion fruits. The new varieties are sweet unlike those grown in the coast region (Brazil) as they are bigger in size, juicier and more tolerant to soil and foliar disease. Experts say the new varieties could help lift the economic status of small holder farmers and contribute to rapid increase in passion fruit production. The new varieties are drought tolerant. The researcher investigated factors influencing sustainability of passion fruit farming in Keiyo, Elgeyo-Marakwet County. The objectives of the study were; to establish how level of knowledge influenced sustainability of passion fruit farming in Keiyo sub county, to assess how climatic conditions influence sustainability of passion fruit farming, to assess the extent to which Agricultural inputs influence sustainability of passion fruit project, and to establish how market accessibility influence sustainability of passion fruit project in Keiyo sub county. The theoretical framework for the study was stakeholder theory advanced by Freeman. The study targeted about 537 passion fruit farmers in Keiyo Sub County using descriptive survey through questionnaires, interviews and observation methods. The farmers were subdivided into three divisions: Kaptemuchwa, Kamariny and Tambach. A sample size of 30% which was 161 of the passion fruit farmers was selected together with key informants. The farmers were selected using stratified random sampling while key informants were selected using purposive sampling. The study instruments involve questionnaires and interview schedules. The research instruments were tested for validity and reliability. Permission was sought from the Sub County Crops Officer prior to data collection and NACOSTI. The data collected was analysed using descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and inferential analysis (correlations and regressions) with the assistance of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Version 20). The findings were presented using frequency distribution tables. The findings show that there is lack of relevant skills and competence in passion fruit farming which influenced its sustainability. The study found out that climatic factors negatively influenced (r=0.024) sustainability of passion fruit production. There was significant strong positive influence (r=0.546) and p=0.001) between inputs on sustainability of passion fruit farming ,lack of certified seeds ,inadequate land and high cost of Agricultural inputs affected the growth of production of passion fruit. There was also a negative influence of market accessibility (r=0.186) and p=0.041 to mean market were not accessible to all farmers. There was lack of adequate information on the product price. The study suggests that there is need for the county government to deploy more extension officers to all divisions to demonstrate on best ways of cultivating passion fruit farming. Also there is need to adopt new eco-friendly technology, and lastly the government to subsidies on inputs.