Small scale horticultural farming along the Kenyan highways and local economic development: exploring the effect of factor prices
The study investigates the effect of cost of seeds, labour, fertilizers, borrowing and leasing land on the economic livelihood of small scale horticultural farmers in Kenya. In carrying out the study, a stratified sampling procedure was used and both primary and secondary data were used. The study results established that high input prices greatly affect the income levels of small scale horticultural farmers and significantly influence their economic livelihood. Consequently these high input prices remain critical challenges to small scale horticultural farming. The study recommends that there should be deliberate policies aimed at cushioning the farmers against high input prices such as subsidies on fertilizer and seeds, availing relatively cheaper credit lines, encouraging farmers to use some level of farm mechanization, encouraging farmers to practice optimal land use due to high cost of either leasing or purchasing land and avail regular extension services on the use of certified seeds and fertilizers. Finally the study results call for provision of efficient road network and marketing and other support mechanisms for farmers to enhance their incomes (their economic livelihoods) and eventual realization of local economic development.