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Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås (2014)

Empowering youth learning organizations through adoption of ecological agriculture in Kenya : focusing on the future

Otiende, Benjamin Ouma

Titre : Empowering youth learning organizations through adoption of ecological agriculture in Kenya : focusing on the future

Auteur : Otiende, Benjamin Ouma

Université de soutenance : Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Ås

Grade : Master Thesis 2014

Résumé
Formal organic agriculture in Kenya dates back to the early 1980s when the first pioneer organic training institutions were established. Initial efforts to promote organic agriculture in Kenya were made by rural development and non-governmental organizations. The Kenyan government has not yet recognized the role of organic agriculture through its policies and could increase efforts to promote the sector. The emphasis of the study was to evaluate field experience of organic agriculture in Kenya while assessing whether the expected impact of such projects was indeed seen, and under what circumstances do initiatives either achieve all or some of these, fail completely or continue to flourish. The impact of organic agriculture on the youth was the particular focus. If there was evidence that some or all of these benefits are observed as a result of the implementation of organic agriculture. All these factors that guided the study were correlated to come up with the desired adoption model. The study identified the counties that practiced ecological agriculture and clustered them into agro-ecological zones given that generally, similar agro-ecological zones have similar agricultural practices and are likely to experience similar challenges. In using the case study approach, the researcher formed questions about the situation or problem to be studied and determined a purpose for the study. The study adopted Farming Systems Research which is an intellectual way of life, a concept of the nature of reality and how to investigate it. Farming Systems Research implies that a systemic approach is necessary so as to capture the ‘logic’ of the farming system, which allows us to understand the interactions between component parts. The study also adopted Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) which is an iterative and organic process which encourages stakeholders to engage in cycles of research, co-analysis, reflection and evaluation together over time. The study used stratified random sampling technique to draw a sample from the youth development organizations population. Five methods were used to collect the required data. They included literature review, focus group discussions, personal interviews, key informant interviews and telephone interviews. Secondary Data from surveys and reports (county agricultural reports, were used in the study to verify/qualify some of the findings. The study concluded that organic agriculture enabled young farmers to improve their production systems and productivity without the need for significant financial outlay. The study major recommendation is that training of youth and smallholders and the creation of new local and export markets will both, and jointly, favor agricultural intensification and growth. The study further recommends that there is need to create a network of supported Youth organizations that collaborate and compete amongst themselves to develop good practice/fields of excellence in youth and agricultural development.

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