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Commercialization of Smallholder Horticultural Farming in Kenya

Poverty, Gender, and Institutional Arrangements


Beatrice Wambui Muriithi

This study assesses income and poverty effects of vegetable commercialization in Kenya with a special focus on gender issues and evaluates the performance of institutional arrangements that link small producers to the high-value vegetable supply chains. Using econometrics analysis of two rounds of rural household survey, the study reveals that the participation of smallholders in the domestic and export vegetable markets is declining. Weather risks, high costs of inputs and unskilled labour as well as erratic vegetable prices contribute to the declining trend. The impact evaluation of market participation reveals that households supplying the export market have a higher per capita income. The examination of gender roles indicates that the improvement of land productivity and the promotion of women’s access to agricultural training and extension services might enhance their market participation. The analysis of vegetable contractual arrangements indicates that the governance structure is important to the profitability and hence the sustainability of farmer-trader relationships.
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This work would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of people and institutions. First, I am thankful to God for giving me the grace to bring this work to fruition.

I am greatly indebted to my first supervisor Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun, who provided guidance, encouragement, and constructive criticism in the friendliest way, in addition to offering moral and intellectual support. I am also grateful to Prof. von Braun for his kindness and concern for my well-being. I also wish to express my gratitude to my second supervisor Prof. Dr. George Noga who took time to read my work and gave timely feedback. I am very grateful to my tutor Dr. Julia Anna Matz for her invaluable comments on several drafts of this thesis. I am thankful for her timely and constructive feedback on my questions and writing, which made the completion of this work possible.

This study was accomplished with financial support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), without which it would not have been possible. I am equally thankful to the Fiat Panis Foundation for their additional financial support, which enabled me to carry out such an elaborate research effort. I am also grateful to the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) for allowing me to use their data. I am particularly grateful to the director, Prof. Dr. Christian Borgemeister for hosting me at his institute during my fieldwork and to Prof. Dr. Dagmar...

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