The Perfomance of Hides and Skins Sub – Sector and Associated Economic Losses in Wajir County, Kenya
The African problem with hides and skins value chain comes from; poor quality of raw materials, lack of efficient marketing structures, lack of incentives for quality production and export of raw and semi processed hides and skins. Hides and skins trade is a major foreign income earner for Kenya. Despite this it is estimated that hides and skins are lost from noncollection in the Northern Kenya areas culminating to low returns, ultimately leading to high levels of poverty. This situation may be as a result of socioeconomic and production factors which necessitated this study. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. The target population was 88,574 households in the entire Wajir County. Purposive sampling was used to select a sample size of 106 composed of 92 flayers and 14 traders across Wajir County. Data was collected by use of questionnaires with both closed and open-ended questions. The questionnaire was pilot-tested on 10 flayers and 2 traders in Elnur, Beletulamin, Tulatula and Boa villages which did not participate in the main study and have the same characteristics as the study area in terms of production of hides and skins. An alpha Cronbach‟s coefficient of 0.884 was obtained. Data analysis was done by inferential and descriptive statistics. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 was used for analysis. Hypotheses were tested using multiple regression tests while the number of non-collected hides and skins was obtained using Bayes Theorem. All tests were computed at α=0.05. The most active age bracket in flaying of hides and skins in Wajir County was 46-65 years comprising up to 42 per cent. Similarly, this was still the most active age bracket in hides and skins trading comprising of 86 per cent. Up to 90 per cent of the flayers were male while females comprised of 10 per cent. There was no female trader among the ones interviewed. The duration of hides and skins trade among the traders was similar for three classes i.e. 6 – 10 years, 11 – 15 years and 16 – 20 years with 29 per cent while only 13% of the traders had an experience of 21- 25 years. The study indicated that about 70 per cent of the total respondents had no formal education. The prices of hides and skins in Wajir County varied between species and method of curing (preservation) used. The wet salting method of curing attracted the highest prices although air and sun dried hides and skins were over 70 per cent of total hides and skins produced in goats, sheep and cattle. Using Bayes theorem the study indicated that Wajir County lost Kshs.3.84 million annually from non-collected hides and skins while over Ksh.400, 000.00 was lost in taxes. Other ways in which money is lost is through branding whereby the County lost Kshs.1.64 million annually. From the study, branding was the major defect that caused losses in hides and skins in the County. During the drought period that lasted from 2009 to 2011 Wajir County lost over Kshs.156 million from fallen (dead animals) hides and skins. Religious and cultural festivities affected the quantities of hides and skins collected and delivered for trade. Religious festivals had the greatest increase as during these festivities livestock are slaughtered in masses. The most important factor that affected hides and skins trade in Wajir County was mode of supply with p = 0.001 this was the actual quantities delivered to traders either from collectors, flayers or even individual pastoralists. Quality was not a determinant as to whether the trader would purchase the hide and skin or not but only at how much he would buy it. Training was the most important factor influencing production of quality hides and skins with a p = 0.000. This was so because the other factors like tools for flaying, structure of storage and effectiveness in collection would be done more efficiently if the person had been trained. As for factors of production, capital was the most important factor with a p = 0.025. According to the study, capital influenced the quantities of hides and skins that a trader or collector could purchase. Capital also had influence on quality because better quality hides and skins fetched better prices. In conclusion, more vigilance should be practiced to collect hides and skins effectively as the study has shown that indeed non collection leads to great losses. The youth and more women may be included in these activities as they would empower them economically. Training should be considered to improve the quality of hides and skins so as to fetch better prices in the market, reduce activities leading to production of poor quality hides and skins like branding and poor animal husbandry. The County Government should consider improving infrastructure and coming up with policies to improve hides and skins trade.
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