An Analysis of Tobacco Leaf Production: a Case Study of Kitui District
The Kenya Government is concerned about the plight of the rural-households in the country. This is no doubt the reason why the Government has embarked on the "District-focus" for rural development. Developing the rural areas means that the inhabitants must participate in their own development according to the resource endowment. Kitui District is a low-potential area when most of the land area is considered. Developing any economic activity that would suit the climatic conditions of the marginal area should be taken seriously as this will improve the rural welfare. Tobacco crop provides an opportunity to contribute towards the livelihood of the inhabitants of the area. The main aim of this study is therefore to identify the constraints on the production of tobacco crop in Kitui District. Solutions to the problem would help in increasing the productivity and output of the tobacco grown in the area. Cross section data obtained from field survey and time-series data retrieved from the existing records were used in the analysis of the problem stated. Econometric and statistical techniques were used to test expected relationship and the results found can be summarized as: V 1. There was knowledge of the use of better crop husbandry and yet they ..ere not utilized to the maximum. The credit inputs were available but were not significant in the production of tobacco. 2. The mode of farming was still that of a subsistence economy. The technology used was rudimentary with predominant use of hoes. The physical capital was insignificant in increasing output. 3. Labor productivity was significant in the production of output. This conforms to the nature of the crop and would therefore increase output. 4. Land as a factor of production was significant at increasing output and therefore more land under the crop, and increased or same intensity in cropping would increase output. 5. Extension services results were just significant but not at a higher level and therefore improved and better agricultural trained personnel would aid in increasing output. VI farmers are responsive to the price incentive, basing out result or the output response. The long-run price supply elasticity conforms to economic theory and therefore agricultural price policy could be used to manipulate output. Based on the foregoing results, we recommend that policies addressed towards the areas would increase tobacco output.
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