Monitoring the Influence of Scale of Operation and Farmers’ Risk Aversion on Sugarcane Productivity in Nandi County, Kenya

Aims: Sugarcane ranks among the top ten commercial crops grown in Kenya, but there has been a decline in its productivity. For agricultural products such as ethanol and by-products such as molasses that are used as livestock feed, among other applications, it is a major source of sugar for human consumption. This research examined the effect on productivity of the size of farm operations and the risk aversion of farmers. The risk aversion was focused on the perceived risks of farmers associated with new, early maturing, high yielding varieties.

Study Design: Ex post facto research design was adopted by the survey study.

Location and length of the study: The study was carried out along a sugarcane growing belt in Nandi County, Western Kenya. Between April and September, 2019, data was gathered.

Methodology: To obtain data from a sample of 198 respondents, an enumerator-administered questionnaire was used. To pick participants, purposeful and stratified random sampling techniques were used. With the assistance of SPSS Version 20, data was analysed. The Chi square test and its associated strength of association scale, Cramer’s V, were used to estimate variables’ relationships. To test for yield differences between classes, Welch’s ANOVA (W-test) was performed. Post hoc experiments using the Games-Howell test to differentiate the means were subject to major variations.

Results: There was a strong correlation between the operating scale and the productivity of the farmers; x 2 (2, N = 198) = 14.11, P = .001, V = .267. Productivity dependent on W-test (P = .001) was significantly affected by farmers’ scale of activity. Per unit of land, medium-scale farms were substantially more productive than both small and large-scale farms. Sugarcane productivity was correlated with risk aversion as calculated by perceived risks of moving to new varieties; x 2 (2, N = 198) = 9.25, P =.01, V = .216. There were slightly lower yields compared to low risk (P = .001) for those who considered high risks associated with new varieties.

Conclusion: The report concludes that the size of farm operations has had a substantial effect on the production of sugarcane. Compared to the medium scale, small-scale and large-scale farmers experienced poor sugarcane productivity. Risk aversion among farmers has seemed to have a negative effect on the productivity of sugar cane. Capacity building of farmers on best practises in crop management and methods for risk management is recommended.

Author (s) Details

Joseph Kipkorir Cheruiyot
School of Agriculture and Biotechnology, University of Kabianga, Kenya.

Nelly Sang
School of Agriculture and Biotechnology, University of Kabianga, Kenya.

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