Socio-Economic, Cultural and Institutional Factors Influencing Modern Box Hives Adoption in Kitui County, Kenya
Kiiti, Michael Kiingwa
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Modern technologies in beekeeping at the global level have advanced in the recent past in countries that have embraced the new technologies such as China, Argentina and the USA, which are making honey exports worth millions of dollars. Modern beekeeping in Kenya is still a new idea as in most other African countries leading to low economic benefits. Efforts by the government, NGO’s and international donors to boost the adoption in various regions in Kenya such as Mwingi have gained little success as most of the beekeepers continue to use the log hive leading to low quality and quantity of the honey produced. The study was carried out across the five selected locations of Mwingi Central Sub-county namely; Waita, Nuu, Kivou, Mwingi and Mui since they have a high number of registered beekeepers. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the socio-economic, cultural and institutional factors influencing adoption of the modern box hives in Mwingi Central Sub-county. The specific objectives were to; explore the types of hives, honey production levels and apiculture related institutions in the study area, identify the socio-economic, cultural and intuitional factors that influence adoption of modern box hives, establish the challenges to adoption and sustained use of modern box hives and to evaluate the financial benefits of adopting modern box hives. Simple random sampling on the basis of proportional allocation was employed to select 110 beekeepers (42 adopters and 68 non-adopters) from the five locations. The required data was mainly collected through questionnaires administered to the beekeepers. In-depth interviews conducted on key informants and content analysis also provided more data. The collected data was fit into the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 for quantitative analysis. Descriptive statistics such as, frequencies and percentages were used to describe and summarize the data while inferential statistics including chi-square, t-test and Pearson’s correlation enabled making of generalizations about the population. A logistic regression model was employed to identify the socio-economic and institutional factors that influence the adoption. Partial Budgeting was applied to evaluate the financial benefits of modern box hives adoption. Chi-square tests revealed a statistically significant relation between adoption of modern box hives and; modern beekeeping training, apiary visit, off-farm employment, credit use and extension contact at P<0.05. T-test analysis revealed significant mean differences between the groups (adopters and non-adopters) in terms of; age, education level, knowledge and experience in beekeeping at P<0.05. Logistic regression showed that the predictor variables; education level, modern beekeeping training, apiary visits, off-farm employment, age, knowledge score on modern box hives, credit access and extension contact were significant. Significant challenges facing the adoption based on chi-square test were; unavailability of the box hives, unsuitability to local bees and lack of skills. On challenges facing sustained use of the box hives; honey market unavailability, absconding of bees, and drought were found significant. The outcome of partial budgeting revealed that modern box hives (langstroth) are financially beneficial when compared to log hives. It was concluded that the low adoption rate was linked to a number of socio-economic and institutional factors which must be addressed in order to increase adoption of the modern box hives and the subsequent increase in honey production in the area. The study therefore recommends among other things; establishment of more honey processing and marketing centres and facilitation of more extension contact with beekeepers.