Determinants of Commercial Tree Growing Among Smallholder Farmers in Nandi County, Kenya
Commercial Forestry sector contributes more than $600 billion to the global economy each year. Farm forestry is expected to contribute immensely to meeting materials needs for this sector and also provide ecosystem services. To support the tree growing by farmers, it is essential to understand the factors that influence commercial tree growing. The findings of a study to assess the current state of on-farm tree planting and the key variables influencing adoption of commercial tree growing on farms are reported in this paper. Cross sectional data on commercial tree growing was collected from two hundred and eighteen (218) households. Using semi-structured questionnaires with closed and open-ended questions, these households were systematically and randomly sampled from a population of 3633 farming households practicing agroforestry. Descriptive statistics, logit and binary logistic regression models, and qualitative analysis were applied. The findings show that socioeconomic factors such as age, education level, and income have a strong influence on commercial tree planting among small holder farmers in Nandi County. Older farmers are more likely than younger farmers to participate in commercial forestry as farmers because their employment opportunities are limited. Farmers with a high level of education are also more likely to practice commercial forestry because they have access to information and training. Farmers with a high off-farm income are more likely to grow commercial trees as a long-term return investment than farmers who rely entirely on their farms. According to the study, the majority of farmers preferred commercially planting exotic tree species, with 70.2 % planting Cupressus lusitanica and 69.7 % planting Eucalyptus saligna. The study recommends that farmers should be educated on species site matching, according to the study, because they were found planting Eucalyptus species even in riparian areas. In conclusion, farmers of various ages can be encouraged to use commercial tree farming and good management practices to generate more income
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