Factors influencing rural women participation in agricultural food crop production in Kenya:a case of Matungu sub-county in Kakamega county
Injamu, Rajah Sebwa Makokha
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This study set out to establish the factors that influence the participation of women in agricultural production in Kenya, with Matungu Sub-County of Kakamega County being the case in study. Rural women play significant role in domestic and socioeconomic life of the society such that national development is not possible without developing this important and substantial segment of our society. This paper examined the participation of women in agriculture production activities. Data was collected from women in Matungu Sub-County and various publications and journal, papers and articles related to the topic of interest. According to various studies it was discovered that the socio-economic characteristics of the women farmers significantly affect participation of women in agriculture. However, other factors militating against women in their participation in agricultural production are many, some of which are socio-cultural and economic in nature, lack of legal capacity and training and extension services. The task of surmounting such obstacles can be very daunting, even though women have largely succeeded in forging ahead. The study was conducted using a descriptive survey design. The target population was 200 women farmers in Matungu Sub-County. A total of 133 women farmers was the sample size of the study which was selected through random sampling. A pilot study was conducted in the nearby Mumias Sub-County to ascertain the reliability and validity of the research instruments. The received data was classified, summarized, coded and SPSS computer processing package used for analysis. The findings were presented through the use of frequency tables, cross tabulations, charts and percentages. This study revealed that women participation in agriculture food crop production was still influenced by social cultural factors, barriers to access to finance, difficult legal environment and barriers to access to agriculture extension services. The study findings provide information to stakeholders in national planning, agriculture, education, food security and finance that will help them be able to predict and react to trends in agricultural production and food security. Awareness campaigns on new fanning skills, greater knowledge about women in agriculture and implementation of gender responsive approaches could go a long way in improving productivity. Further research should be carried out on the influence of land subdivision on food crop production, factors influencing women participation in sugarcane farming and the influence of culture on obtaining and managing loans by women in agriculture.