FARMER PRODUCTION PRACTICES AMONG SMALL-SCALE FLOWER ENTERPRISES IN CENTRAL KENYA
Small-scale farmers in high potential areas of Kenya are shifting to high-value crops especially flower growing as an alternative to subsistence farming. Farming practices are varied among these enterprises under small-scale operators; most farms consist of mixed crop or livestock farming. A survey was conducted on why growers were opting to flower growing in central Kenya. The survey also examined farming practices and constraints to production, with reference to flowers. The study showed that small growers were shifting to flowers due to better product price and because it provides them with a regular monthly income. There were several different management practices including rotation and closed season among others. Sustainable production practices such as crop residue management and cattle/goat or poultry manure use were also identified in the survey. Constraints to flower growing were cited as lack of access to technology inputs. The survey also showed that most growers undertake group farming, outgrowing or contract farming for larger operations. Apparently, smallholders have switched to growing flowers because there are marketing opportunities made available by the establishment of cooperation with small, medium and large scale exporters. Though, smallholders also target local market outlets. These results suggest that smallholder floriculture is an important source for food security and farmers welfare because of the income it generates and could be a good vehicle to rural development. The results could also form a primary tool for evolving management options by enabling identification of point of intervention in value chain for flowers so as to provide a sustainable production strategy for smallholders.
Watako, A.O., Mundia, C.N. and Odhiambo, P.O. (2011). FARMER PRODUCTION PRACTICES AMONG SMALL-SCALE FLOWER ENTERPRISES IN CENTRAL KENYA. Acta Hortic. 911, 519-524
farming practices, smallholders, flowers, value chain