Factors leading to lack of business diversification of women fish traders in Homa-bay Town, Kenya
Ochieng, Lawrence S
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Business diversification is the increase in the variety of business, service or products in a business entity. Businesses resort to it so as to capture new business opportunities in its bid to expand or diversify its product/service portfolio (Chisnall, 1995). The introduction of Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Victoria in 1950's led to influx of women in fish trade in the three East Africa countries (Johnson 2006). However the emergence of the lucrative Nile perch fillet export market in mid 1980's, set in stiff competition amongst the processing factories, forcing them into vertical integration; this pushed the women fish traders into the less lucrative factory by products, Nile perch frames. The latter has however found increased use in the animal feeds industry leading to scarcity as well as scrambling of this product by the women fish traders and the animal feeds industry. It is on this premise that the study set to investigate the reasons these traders continue to engage in this trade despite the myriads of odds facing them. The study broad objective was to identify the factors that lead to lack of business diversification by women fish traders engaged in mgongo wazi trade. A descriptive cross- sectional study design was used to conduct the study in Homa bay town, Homa bay district. The primary data was collected using interview schedules and Focused Group Discussion (FGD), 104 women fish traders were interviewed. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) and is presented using frequency tables, percentages, bar charts and graphs. The secondary data was collected from scholarly journals, thesis among others from various libraries and resource centres. The study established that the large number of dependants led to financial constraint; the lack of capital due to the fear to borrow loans from banks, embezzlement of members saving by MFI officials are some of the factors which curtails the women fish traders from accessing funds to diversifying their businesses
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