Household Participation, Labour and Networks in the Development of Fish Farming in Busia County, Kenya
Sitawa, Mugah Michae
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Fish farming has and continues to play a vital role in improving nutrition and creating employment. The purpose of the study was to investigate the sociological aspects manifest in the households as well as the centre of focus in the study aimed at establishing the households and networks in the development of fish farming in Busia County. It sought to document the benefits of fish farming to the households, the adoption levels, to find out the importance of household support in fish farming, to investigate the contribution of consumption on the success of fish farming and to assess the importance of networking among farmers to the development of fish farming. The social network theory as propounded by Friedkin (1993) and the rational choice theory as propounded by George Homans, (1961) and Friedma n and Hetcher, (1990 1990) as well as the human capital theory as propounded by Gary Becker (1964) were used to explain the sociological relevance of the study. The target population was the farmers who were registered under the Economic Stimulus Pack (ESP) and were actively involved in fish farming as well as a number whom through their own initiative, ventured into the enterprise. The target population was that of farmers who were registered and were actively involved (800) in fish farming as well as a number whom through their own initiative, ventured into the enterprise. This study used a mixed-methods research approach. The survey research design that was cross-sectional in nature was used. The sample size calculated was 267. The study was able to get 298 respondents. An additional 8 key informants were also selected via purposive sampling. The data was presented in percentages in descriptive form. The Chi-Square test was also used to test the hypotheses. The findings of the study revealed that a majority of the farmers realized a development on their fish farms. On the same note, it was observed that the farmers realized certain benefits from the practice of fish farming. The study findings revealed that there wa s a lack of relationship between the benefits of fish farming and the growth of fish farming in the secto r. It was also es tablished that there was a relationship between the importance of household support and the development of fish farming in Busia County. With regard to fish consumption and the development of fish farming, the study findings showed that the consumption was not significant to the development of fish farming in Busia County. Lastly, the findings also revealed that networking was a significant component in the development of fish farming in Busia County. The study recommended that p policies should to be put in place to promote the training offered to fish farmers and as well should be inclusive of another one or two of their household members. Equally, key components on conflict resolution and functionality should be included in the training, to be applied both at network and household level. This would enhance the synergy and efficient functioning of the farmers’ networks and households as sociological units in the optimal development of the sector. As for areas of further research, it was proposed that a study be done on the demographic variables influencing the development of fish farming in Busia County. Also, the factors explaining the variation in the significance of networks among various age-groups in the development of fish farming.