Tea continues to be one of the main foreign exchange earners in the Kenyan economy and the industry employ 75% of the rural population. It is composed of the large scale sub sector owned by the multinationals and the smallholder sub sector mainly owned by the local farmers. Tea production in the smallholder sub sector is still very low compared to the large scale/estate subsector. The low production in the sub sector has been attributed to several socio-economic and technological factors which include, poor labour utilization, low fertilizer application, low adoption of improved technologies, and low plant population among others. A study was carried out to identify the socio-economic factors which influence tea productivity in the smallholder sub sector of Nandi district. 126 farmers from Chebut tea factory were identified and interviewed along key informants who were also identified. Data from the survey and secondary sources was analyzed, and the following were identified as the main socio-economic factors that influence tea productivity, low labour allocated to tea production, low number of tea bushes owned and low proportion of land under tea. It was concluded that the factors that influence yield significantly include number of bushes owned by the farmer, amount of labour utilized and its efficiency. Other factors such as off-farm income, number of clones, proportion of land under tea and tea as a main income were not significant in explaining tea productivity in the catchment. It was recommended that proper system of remuneration should be developed to motivate and employ a higher percentage of the available family labour in tea production. The extension service department should sensitize farmers on the importance of employing the available family labour in tea production.
Prof. Dr. Jonas Contiero, Brasil
Chief Scientific Officer and Head of a Research Group