Influence of Social Capital on Producer Groups’ Performance and Market Access Amongst Smallholder French beans Farmers in Kirinyaga County, Kenya

Hillary C. Korir, Job K. Lagat, Mary C. Mutai, Wintana O. Ali


Market access is a major constraint facing agricultural commercialization in Kenya. The pressure on arable land and market changes are mainly felt by the smallholder farmers who are faced with high transaction costs. In addition, these farmers face a number of institutional and technical factors putting their market survival at stake. To curb these challenges, formation of farmer groups and organizations has become important in bringing about collective action whose basis is social capital. However, this capital must be mobilized through group membership and other social dimensions to achieve collective action. This paper therefore, sought determine influence of the social capital dimensions, socio-economic and institutional factors on group’s performance. The study was conducted in Mwea sub-county, Kirinyaga County and a multistage sampling method was used to obtain a sample of 174 farmers (95 group members and 79 non-group members) who were interviewed using structured questionnaires. Descriptive statistics was utilized in characterizing socio-economic attributes of the smallholder French beans farmers. Tobit model was used to determine influence of the social capital dimensions and institutional factors on group’s performance. The results showed that gender, age, education level, French beans yield, farming experience, transport cost, off-farm income, initial social capital endowment, trust index and meeting attendance significantly influenced the extent of commercialization. The results of this study enhanced a better understanding of social capital dimensions in farmer group performance.

Key words: Social capital, commercialization, Tobit model, French beans

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