Journal of Agriculture & Life Sciences

ISSN 2375-4214 (Print), 2375-4222 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jals

Assessing Gender Roles and Environmental Impacts during Oil Crop Production in Lare Nakuru, Kenya
Ms. Zilpher Nyakwara, Dr. Millicent Mokua, Dr. Wilkster Moturi, Dr. Macharia Gethi

The oil crops sector had been identified as one of the entry points in the execution of the food reliance and a vehicle for poverty reduction by government of Kenya (MoA, 2008). As a result many studies and development projects aimed at promoting soybean and sunflower in Kenya have been undertaken since the 1990s. While a lot of studies have been based on low adoption of these crops, challenges like gender roles, access to and control of the farmland remain undocumented. To address this gap, this study focused on gender roles and the related potential environmental effects during oil crop production by small holder farmers, in Lare Division, Nakuru County, Kenya. Gender roles, access to information by gender and awareness of environmental and gender policies were analyzed. Purposive sampling was used to obtain a sample size of 180 small holder farmers from 330 households within the study area. The results indicated that the activities and production of oil crop was a gender crop. Male farmers owned land and accessed information through trainings but were not involved in all activities of soybean and sunflower production. Gender roles adhere to traditional and cultural codes on pesticide application; it was done by male farmers with no protective gears despite having been trained on safe practices. On environmental and gender policies awareness, 58% and 13% of female and male farmers were not aware. The study concludes that sunflower and soybean is a female enterprise crop. Male farmers owned the land hence made all regardless of the gender labor requirement. All male farmers’ accessed information on best farming practices, while women farmers (n=93) did not. There was slow awareness on policies because 52% and 13% (female and male farmers respectively) were not aware. This slow of awareness is likely to lead to poor farming practices that are likely to increase environmental risks. The study recommends that there is need to promote policies, programmes and projects that improve both men and women's access to and control over productive resources, inputs and services equally at grassroots’ levels. There is a need to study the changes in the gender roles in agriculture in order to understand the cultural setup in different area. The understanding of such changes goes a long way in enhancing better projects planning and implementations.

Full Text: PDF