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Analysis of the Marketing Behaviour of African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables among Smallholder Farmers in Nyamira County, Kenya.

Momanyi, Denis and Lagat, Prof. Job K. and Ayuya, Dr. Oscar I. (2016): Analysis of the Marketing Behaviour of African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables among Smallholder Farmers in Nyamira County, Kenya. Published in: Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development , Vol. 6, No. 13 (2015): pp. 212-216.

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The African Indigenous Leafy Vegetables (AILV) agricultural sub-sector in Kenya has in recent times gained considerable prominence and attention. A diverse number of studies have underpinned the role it can play in improving the economic standing of smallholders, while playing an imperative nutritional role in the diets of many consumers. Stemming from increased awareness on the rise of various lifestyle illnesses and crusaders championing for healthy eating habits, the demand of AILV, as healthier dietary alternatives, has been gradually on the rise. However, the socioeconomic and institutional factors that influence market participation and the effect of choice of market packages on AILV income are still not clear. Therefore, the main objectives of the study were: to characterize the socio-economic attributes of AILV farmers; to determine factors influencing households’ market participation behaviour; and to identify the combination of market outlets that deliver the highest payoffs (income) to farmers. The study was based on data collected from a sample of 254 households drawn from Nyamira North Sub-County in Nyamira County. A multistage sampling procedure was used to arrive at the sample, with semi structured questionnaires employed as the research instrument to collect qualitative and quantitative data through face to face interviews. The determinants of market participation behaviour among smallholders was estimated by an ordered probit model, while the combination of market outlets that delivered the highest payoffs (income) to farmers employed a multinomial endogenous switching regression. SPSS and STATA software were used for data analysis and management. Findings revealed that marketing experience, land ownership, households’ food self-sufficiency, contractual marketing, access to credit and extension services significantly influenced the regimes in which smallholders participated in markets. Further, using market packages that contained urban market outlets led to higher incomes among smallholders. It is not enough that farmers merely participated in markets, rather they should participate in markets profitably as net sellers. Identifying the specific challenges and requirements that are unique for each market regime (net sellers, autarkic and net buyers) through proper targeting and screening of farmers is necessary. Here, equipping extension workers with the ability to address the specific needs of each group is recommended. Urban markets, in isolation as well as in market packages, were clearly shown to offer higher incomes in actual and counterfactual scenarios. Improving the condition of roads linking urban markets to producers could potentially reduce transportation costs of accessing such urban markets. This could go on to encourage the use of urban markets among farmers, who stand to gain better income and gradually fish themselves out of poverty traps.

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