The role of social capital on the operational performance of smallholder dairy producer groups in Kajiado and Githunguri cooperative society
Nkoidila, Nayianoi A
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Improvement of the operational performance of smallholder dairy farmers remains one of the major challenges in Africa. With high perishability of the dairy products, there is need to improve the commercialization of these products through adoptions of mechanism that will hasten the marketability of the products and at the same time improve their operational performance. Operational aspects such as improved level of efficiency, capacity management and effective commercialization process can be enhanced better through the members coming together and pooling together their internal resources. Past efforts to improve smallholder farmers‟ access to markets through market reforms have largely been ineffective. Consequently, the study sought to determine the effect of social capital on the operational performance of smallholder producer dairy farmers in Kajiado and Githunguri. A descriptive research design was adopted whereby all the 6 registered producer organizations were sampled. The primary data was collected using the questionnaire as the primary research instrument. The study found that for effective realization of the social capital among the members, there is need to have a common social and cultural thread that binds the members together that includes, social and cultural commonality as well as family ties. The trust given to members of the same church and leadership was also evident and this was found to improve the level of togetherness among the group members. The study finds that social capital positively affects the operational performance of smallholder dairy producer organizations. With the producer organizations having the capacity to reduce the level of poverty, governments, non-governmental organizations and other development partners should take a pro-active role in organizing and facilitating the formation of smallholder rural producer organizations and linking then to markets. The study recommends that longitudinal data be used to add greater confidence to the results and allow for stronger causal inferences regarding the nature of the relationships between the social capital dimensions and the operational performance of the smallholder producer organizations in the rural areas.