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University of Colorado (1996)

Diversified agricultural production : a path to smallholder prosperity and improved food security in Central Kenya

Dorsey, Bryan Spence

Titre : Diversified agricultural production : a path to smallholder prosperity and improved food security in Central Kenya

Auteur : Dorsey, Bryan Spence

Université de soutenance : University of Colorado

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1996

Résumé
Smallholder agricultural production in Kenya makes a substantial contribution to improved food security at both local and regional scales. Central to the question of food security is the relationship between diversification, commercial specialization, land availability, labor and synthetic agricultural inputs. This dissertation research establishes direct links between the scale, process, and output of agricultural production by examining the dynamics of agricultural intensification and diversification. In the context of this research, diversification refers to varied cash and food crop production on the farm. Few, if any, studies have specifically addressed the case of diversification as a means to increase agricultural productivity and thereby improve conditions of food security. One of the leading hypotheses probes the relationships between diversification and areal scale of production. Analysis of variations in farm generated income among smallholders is also pivotal to identifying the more beneficial means of increasing agricultural production. Results are derived from a small farm survey conducted in an area of high agricultural potential in the Kirinyaga District of Kenya’s Central Province. Secondary data focus on the problems associated with synthetic fertilizer and plant treatment inputs, such as banned pesticides. Solutions or ’sustainable’ alternatives to high input production are then proposed. Specific analyses of primary data indicate that smallholders cultivating three to four acres of land are highly diversified in this case. Whether or not diversification decreases beyond a particular scale is uncertain ; however, it is expected that large scale production is not conducive to diversified production, yet this is a question deserving further research. Empirical evidence from this study shows a clear positive relationship between diversification and farm generated income, as well as farm product commercial specialization. Almost all smallholders in the study area specialize in coffee production, but those who were most diversified were more economically successful and relied less upon subsistence- oriented food crop production. Increased productivity, linked to diversification and commercial specialization, is inferred as a positive contribution to food security. Conclusions include policy recommendations in order to integrate findings with current agricultural development plans in Kenya.

Sujets : Agricultural production ; Kirinyaga District ; Farming ;

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Page publiée le 19 décembre 2016, mise à jour le 19 novembre 2018