Factors Influencing the Opportunity Exploitation by Entrpreneurial Tree Farmers in Lari District of Kiambu County, Kenya
Njogu, Kanyi Benson
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Entrepreneurship is a vehicle to improve the quality of life for individuals, families and communities and to sustain growth of the economy and livelihoods improvement. Farm-based entrepreneurship has been eclipsed by traditions and cultures as more a way of life rather than a business opportunity based on desired economic gains. Farm based entrepreneurship is driven by farmers who respond to new opportunities related to farm based activities. This study was carried out to assess the entrepreneurial characteristics of smallholder improved trees growers‘ in Lari District Central Kenya guided by the following objectives; to assess the entrepreneurial characteristics of small holder forest farmers, to determine the factors influencing the planting of improved eucalyptus trees and to analyse the relationship between the entrepreneurial characteristics of farmers and their motivation to plant the improved eucalyptus trees. The study applied a survey design. The target population for this study comprised of 2,500 smallholder tree farmers in Lari District. The researcher applied the snowball sampling technique to select the respondents. The sample size was 385 farmers. Structured questionnaire were employed in obtaining primary data for this study. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics in form of multiple regression. The findings indicated that 87.3% of the respondents were over 36 years old which is the age of investments in assets such as land. 66% of the forest growers were male dominated as compared with 32.5% females while 46.8% respondents were educated up to secondary school level putting them in good stead for forestry extension and innovation. 66% of the growers operated on less than 2 acres of land which fits in the definition of smallholder farmers. Probit analysis indicated the p-value 0.01<0.05 meaning that there is no significant different between the number of trees planted and personality traits.Factor analysis indicates four factors had significant influence on the planting of the improved eucalyptus trees. These were prior knowledge in agro-forestry, skills that makes it work, passion for environmental conservation and availability of ready markets. The multiple regression analysis indicated that the focus on technology opportunities (p<0.05) also presents a new perspective on how entrepreneurial tree farmers, with fewer cutting-edge technological innovations, can still discover technological opportunities. It is recommended that to stimulate entrepreneurship in tree farming and enhance demand for improved trees varieties training and access to information on availability of the improved varieties needs to be more entrepreneurs friendly. Further research is recommended in determining the influence of role models in triggering the entrepreneurial opportunity exploitation by tree farmers.