Effects of Unionization on Sugar Cane Farmers’ Income in Bukembe Zone, Bungoma County

Joseph Odhiambo Onyango, Henry Bwisa, Elizabeth Nambuswa Makokha


Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy and the sugarcane production is a key subsector in the agricultural sector which employs over half- a million people in Kenya. While sugarcane farming was meant to be a source of income and wealth creation to the people of Western Kenya, the outcome have been worrying as many farmers remain impoverished while the sugarcane factories face a mirage of challenges and   has been in constant crisis. The role of financial capital as a factor of production to facilitate economic growth and development as well as the need to appropriately channel credit to rural areas for economic development of the poor rural farmers cannot be over emphasized. Credit (capital) is viewed as more than just another resource such as labour, land, equipment and raw materials but also determines access to all of the resources on which farmers depend.  The purpose of the study was to analyse effect of unionization on sugarcane farmers’ in income in Bukembe Zone, Bungoma County.  The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. The target population of the study was 384 sugarcane farmers. The sample population was 50 farmers. Data collection was done by means of semi-structured questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis was done through content analysis and descriptive statistics respectively. Frequency tables and charts were used to present the findings. The study results indicated there was a significant relationship between unionization and farmers’ income (p=0.000); there was a significant relationship between farmers’  characteristics and farmers’ income (p=0.002);there was a significant relationship between company related factors and farmers’ income (p=0.000) and that there was a significant relationship between environmental related factors and farmers’ income (p=0.001). The study concluded that famers’ income is determined by unionization, farmers’ characteristics, related company characteristics and environmental related factors. The study recommended that sugar companies’ policies should be aligned with sugarcane farmers’ needs in order to gain sugarcane farmers trust and that farmers should research on various environmental factors that affect growth of sugarcane and seek experts’ solutions.

Keywords: Farmers’ Income, Unionisation.

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