Adoption and Implementation of Devolved Farm Forestry Extension Services from Kenya Forest Service to County Governments: Socio-Economic Wellbeing of Rural Communities and Experiences from Homabay County, Kenya
In Kenya, all forestry functions were National Government affairs until 2013 when farm forestry extension was devolved to the 47 Counties, Homabay County being one of them. However, the adoption and extent of implementation of the devolved farm forestry extension services are little known and its impact on rural livelihoods has not been effectively established as well as the implementation of the Transition Implementation Plan by the County Government of Homabay is not evident. Structured questionnaires were administered purposively to 399 respondents spread in eight Sub-Counties of Homabay to gather data on the extent of implementation of the devolved farm forestry extension services, to evaluate socio-economic effects of farm forestry extension services to rural communities and the extent of adoption of devolved farm forestry extension services. Results indicate the extent of adoption of farm forestry extension services is low with the farmers expressing that as much as it’s a devolved function, it is not an active process within the rural communities (82%). The key socio-economic factors that affect the adoption and implementation of devolved farm forestry are; farmers level of income for purchase of tree seeds (61%), market availability for tree seedlings (44%), land sizes and tenure systems (68%). The extent of implementation was influenced by County Government budget allocation and prioritization (67%), availability of qualified personnel (81%), government policies on interactions between the two levels of governments (49%) and obligation to the Transition Implementation Plan (89%). The results suggest that County Government needs to prioritize budget allocation and have adequate personnel as means to adequately implement the devolved functions and also to implement the Transition Implementation Plan as laid down by the Kenya Forest Service.
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