Effects of Tobacco Control Policy Interventions on Tobacco Production in Migori County Kenya
John Juma, Nyangi
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Tobacco production has shifted to low-and middle-income countries with significant increase in Africa. Main tobacco growing countries in Africa are also among the world’s poorest countries. In Kenya, 80% tobacco production is taking place in Migori County where approximately 28,000 small‐scale farmers grow tobacco on 7,100 hectares of land. Whereas tobacco industry argue that tobacco cultivation is a lucrative economic venture for smallholder farmers, evidence show that tobacco cultivation has negative environmental and social effects and is also a serious risk to occupational health and safety. In general, it seems the risks associated with tobacco growing outweigh its benefits hence the justification for control of tobacco production. This study sought to examine the effects of tobacco control policy interventions on tobacco production in Migori County Kenya. The study was informed by Protection Motivation Theory and was undertaken through a descriptive research design. The study used purposive and snowball sampling methods to recruit study participants. The sample size was 178 tobacco farmers. The study used questionnaires, focused group discussion guides and interview schedules to collect primary data for the study. The study interviewed key informants from the from farmers who have switched to alternative crops, the leaf buying companies, tobacco control unit and the civil societies involved in tobacco control. Secondary data was obtained from Government documents and records, official statistics, Newspapers and journals. Data analysis was done using SPSS and Microsoft Excel and results presented using tables, figures and charts. The study conducted a multiple linear regression analysis and used the regression results to test the study hypotheses. Analysis of Variance was adopted in order to determine the model significance at 95% confidence level. The study guaranteed of privacy and confidentiality through anonymity of participants and written consent respectively. The findings of the study showed that most tobacco farmers have primary education and are under contractual arrangements with BAT Kenya is the. Majority of farmers continue growing tobacco because it is the only economically viable crop in their area. The results showed that tobacco control policy interventions have a negative and significant effect on tobacco production in Migori County. The study found that education, public campaigns and advocacy on harmful effects of tobacco growing has a negative effect on tobacco cultivation and it also serves as a deterrent measure for those individuals considering to start growing tobacco. It was also found that promoting alternative crops had a negative and significant effect on tobacco production. Institutional arrangements that assist farmers shift to alternative crops such as access to agricultural credit for alternative crops to farmers had a negative effect on tobacco production as well as that public institutional arrangements. The study also found that higher levels of implementation of the tobacco control policies are linked to higher levels of farmers’ quit tobacco farming for other alternative crops. The study concluded that enhancing tobacco control leads to a decrease in tobacco production. The study recommended for introduction of minimum support prices for food production and other measures to ensure that farmers have appropriate incentives to switch from tobacco-growing.