The process of farmer group development and its influence on the effectiveness of collective action: the case of Bungoma county (Kenya) and Kapchorwa district (Uganda)
This study investigates the influence of structural and functional arrangements on the effectiveness of collective action, even as groups develop overtime. A survey was conducted with 195 farmer groups in Kenya and Uganda, these was supplemented with focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Results indicates that farmer groups have been changing differently by adjusting their structural and functional arrangements; even though the changes varied hence some changes were much more pronounced than others. Results shows that there is a significant relationship (P<0.05) between number of leadership positions, frequency of replacing leaders, replacement system, having bank accounts, auditing of accounts, system of regulating conduct, having additional committees, frequency of committees meetings and number of records kept with the effectiveness of collective action. On the other hand, there was no significant relationship (P>0.05) between group type, gender composition, area of operation with the effectiveness of collective action. Analysis of variance indicates that there was no statistical difference (P>0.05) between group size and age with the level of collective action and ability of the groups to meet their objectives. Principal components analysis (PCA) results show that trainings have a significant relationship with effectiveness of collective action. Principal components that influence effectiveness of collective action in Bungoma County were identified to include the level of trust, leadership skills, unity and effective participation. In Kapchorwa District on the other hand, the principal components that were identified to influence effectiveness of collective action were leadership skills and Effective participation. This study concludes that effectiveness of collective action can be attributed to many factors such as, having effective leadership and governance structures in place, level of commitment of members to group activities, group capacity which is acquired from capacity development support from various partners such as; government, Non Governmental organizations and other farmer groups. This study recommends that as farmer groups progress overtime, they should focus on structural and functional changes that increase their effectiveness. Group members should also be committed to group activities and strive to meet their objectives and serve their collective interests. Finally, partners that support groups should focus on building capacity of group members through trainings to ensure that they are able to effectively run their group activities and achieve their objectives.