Influence of collective Action On Market Access Among Smallholder Banana Farmers In Imenti SouthDistrict ,Kenya

Benson Mutai Mukindia
Extra mural studies, University of Nairobi
August, 2012
Mr Benson Mutai Mukindia is a part time lecture Mount Kenya University,University of Nairobi and Kenya Methodist University. He is a PHD Entrepreneurship candidate at Jomo Kenyatta Unversity of Science and Technology ,holder of Master of Art project planning and management from University of Nairobi, first degree in Bsc Agriculture from the University of Nairobi. He is a consultant in capacity building and strategic planning.

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Collective action has re-emerged recently to organise smallholder farmers in developing countries in the wake of agricultural market liberalisation .Collective action that promotes the empowerment of farmer groups will allow them to overcome specific barriers to becoming part of market economy. Smallholder farmers should thus exploit the wave of support for cooperatives and organised farmer groups to improve their access to the input and product markets. There is need for the relevant investment in capacity building of farmer groups to deliver relevant services which allows smallholder farmers participate actively across the entire value chains thrugh collective action approach that operate at the grassroot level.If farmers market their produce collectively,thy can attain economies of scale and bargaining power to negotiate for better market arrangements and prices.The primary inquiry of this study was to identify and understand the underlying factors that enable smallholder farmer groups to access the market for their bananas.The study was conducted with 10 farmer groups.Individual data were collected on approximately 80 farmer group members. The analysis considered how group composition,group characteristics,group assets and group governance attributes affect a farmer group's ability to access the market for their crop.Findings suggest that that more mature groups with strong internal rules,functioning group activities,and a good asset base of natural capital are more likely to better access their market situation.Gender composition of groups also factors in better group market access.It acts as an enabling factor for female-only groups.Social capital in form of group trust,good leadership and homogeneity of identities that include age and education are significant factors in a group's ability to improve its market access situation.Collective action among farmers gives them more benefits in terms of profit maximisation than when they act individually.