Project Management Practices and Performance of Agricultural Projects by Community-Based Organizations in Bungoma County, Kenya
Simiyu, Nalianya Remmy
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Kenya‟s economy is heavily dependent on the performance of agriculture which provides the basis for the development of other sectors. However, the performance of many agricultural projects in Kenya is still being challenged in the sense that some projects remain stalled while others get completed late with low returns. Previous studies have dwelt on isolated cases of project management like market access in the agriculture sector, Information access using mobile and M&E in projects. Given that a project performance is influenced by many management practices jointly then many studies fail to provide a holistic assessment of all the project management practices jointly that influence performance agricultural projects. This study, therefore, sought to investigate the influence of project management practices on the performance of agricultural projects by community based Organizations in Bungoma County. The specific objectives of the study were; to determine how project planning, project implementation, project communication, and monitoring and evaluation influence the performance of agricultural projects in Bungoma County. The study additionally evaluated the moderating role of environment enablers on the relationship between project management practices and agricultural project performance. The study was based on five theories which included the theory of constrains, management theory of project management, resource based theory, social information theory and communication accommodation theory in the theoretical review. The adopted positivism philosophy where scientific processes were followed. The study used descriptive and explanatory research designs. It targeted 138 community project groups carried out by CBOs registered in Bungoma County. The study used stratified sampling to select 61 project groups from the target population. Primary data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted on 15 field officers. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentages, mean and starndard deviation were used to describe the characteristics of the variables whereas multiple regressions model was used to establish the relationships between the variables. All the analysis was done using SPSS version 22. Qualitative data were analyzed through content analysis. The results showed that all the variables, project planning, project implementation, M&E and project communication were significant on project performance. Environmental enablers (moderating variable) were found to have an influence on the relationship between project management practices and project performance. The study recommended that in order to have the desired project performance the government should ensure that there is well outlined planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and communication methods. The study also recommended that the management of agricultural projects at the County level should not be limited to only office planning but involve stakeholders like farmers and local leaders. The management should also ensure that field officers easily access farmers by developing better transport systems and communication and the use of modern methods like emails and research tools like Google. Finally, the findings of this study can be used to guide the ministry of agriculture to increase their interaction time with the farmers and expose them through bench marking, baseline survey and issues of product marketing through advertisement apart from field visits and training don.