Public policy marketing practices and performance of poverty reduction projects in the agriculturalsector in Central Kenya
This study aimed to determine the effect of public policy marketing practices on performance of poverty reduction projects in the agricultural sector in central Kenya. Specifically the study sought to: determine the influence of public policy marketing practices on the performance of poverty reduction projects in the agricultural sector in central Kenya; assess the influence of managerial qualities of project staffs on the relationship between public policy marketing practices and performance of poverty reduction projects; investigate the influence of demographic characteristics of project target beneficiaries on the relationship between public policy marketing practices and performance of poverty reduction projects; evaluate the joint influence of public policy marketing practices, managerial qualities of project staffs and demographic characteristics of project target beneficiaries on performance of poverty reduction projects. The study was anchored on the broad theory of social marketing. Other relevant theories included adoption and diffusion of innovations, and public policy formation and marketing. The study aligned itself with the positivist paradigm and adopted a descriptive cross-sectional research design. Four hypotheses were developed and variables measured empirically using quantitative methods while statistical software SPSS was used for the analysis. The study population comprised all the poverty reduction projects in the agricultural sector in central Kenya. The unit of analysis was the individual Project. Performance Index (PPI) and other Project performance issues, as identified by the project staffs, were used as the performance indicators. The primary data were collected from the field using a semi-structured questionnaire while secondary data were collected from project documents and other Government publications. The study concluded that the overall public policy marketing practices have a positive effect on the performance of poverty reduction projects in the agricultural sector in central Kenya. However it is important for implementers to carefully price the products and services as high prices were found to have a negative impact on performance of projects. The staffs who manage the projects were found to positively influence the performance but technical and managerial skills with sufficient experience was necessary. Participative style of management in line with the Kenya Constitution 2010 and support from policy makers was found to have positive outcomes. Youthful Male target beneficiaries between 18 and 30 years with up to primary education and earning less than 25,000 Kenya shillings per month were found to be the key drivers of poverty projects. This suggests that implementers of projects should focus on the male youth who do not go beyond primary education. This appears to contradict a common perception that poverty projects are mainly driven by rural women. Because managerial qualities of project staffs and demographic characteristics of target beneficiaries were found to jointly have a significant moderating influence on the performance of projects, it is important that implementers consider these aspects jointly rather than separately as this would improve performance of projects in the agricultural sector. The study recommends further research first to investigate the influence of public policy marketing on performance of other projects in other sectors including health, tourism and education. Research in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands may give other perspectives not captured in this study. Second, effect of public policy marketing practices carried out by Government agencies in free primary education, health care, and free laptops to primary schools presents a good opportunity to do more research. Third, the inclusion of other variables in the conceptual framework such as beneficiaries‟ perspective should be carried out. In addition, research on a social experiment might give an insight into marketing of policies. Fourth, although some authors proposes 8Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, Publics, Partnerships, Policy Environment, and Purse Strings) of social marketing, this study found that only 3Ps (Price, Place, Promotion) appears necessary in the case of poverty reduction projects. Further work in this area may help resolve this issue.
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