The Effect of Devolution of Agricultural Sector on the Citizens’ Livelihoods in Wajir County
Muhumed, Ibrahim Jimale
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Devolution of government functions is one of the key moves introduced by the government, to enhance its service delivery and promote self-governance at County level. At a glance, devolution has come with both benefits and downsides, which are unique to the service/function that has been devolved. Agriculture was previously a function of the National government, under the Ministry of Agriculture. It is currently a devolved ministry, no longer under the sole control of the National government. Same as other devolved functions, it was expected that devolving the ministry of Agriculture would lead to better agricultural production at county level. Devolution Agricultural functions was expected to enhance agricultural production in the counties. The study thus sought to establish the effect of devolution of the agricultural sector on the livelihoods in Wajir County. This study was guided by the following objectives; to establish the effects of devolution of agricultural sector on the empowerment of small-scale farmers, to determine the effects of devolution of agricultural sector on incomes of households and to examine the effects of devolution of agricultural sector on food security of households in Wajir County. The study is hinged on the Sustainable Livelihood Approach. The study adopted a descriptive survey that helped in determining and reports the way things are and attempts to describe such things as possible behavior, attitudes, values, and characteristics. The study targeted5273 small-scale farmers and agricultural officers across all Wajir sub-counties. The study sampled 372 farmers from all the Sub-Counties in Wajir. Therefore, 372 farmers and 6 agricultural officers were used making a total sample size of 378 respondents. The researcher purposively selected six agricultural officers one from each sub-county. In identifying the farmers from each sub-county, the study used simple random sampling. The study will adopt both qualitative and quantitative data. The study used questionnaires for collecting data from 372 farmers, which will be constructed based on the research objectives. The questionnaires were administered using drop and pick method; this provided farmers with enough time to answer the questions. Quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics such as mean, mode, percentages and standard deviation. The study used Chi-Square to establish the relationship between the variables. The study findings indicated that the effect of devolution of agricultural activities in Wajir County has significantly affected the level of food security, sources of income and empowerment among the households in the county. Due to devolution of the agricultural activities, the county government now provides extension services, funds, inputs such as fertilizers and credits for agricultural activities and that has led to an increase in food production which has greatly improved food security and enhanced income generation. The small scale farmers no longer rely on livestock farming but also crop farming. Since the study findings present a significant effect of devolution of the agricultural activities to the county level in Wajir, it recommends that the county government should invest more in some of the agricultural activities such as access to agricultural services like Plough and tractor, Borehole and dam for irrigation, Extension services, Livestock vaccination and Disease surveillance, control, and awareness. There should also be an increase in the provision of services such as the provision of farm inputs and marketing of farm products on behalf of farmers in order to encourage more participation in agriculture by the households. In so doing, the small scale farmers in Wajir County will be more empowered, their income will improve and food security will also be enhanced.