Factors Affecting Aloe Propagation and Cultivation in Kieni West Division, Kenya.
Irungu, Sarah Wachuka
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The thesis resulting from this study intended to investigate factors affecting aloe propagation and cultivation in Kieni West division, Kenya. The rationale for the study was informed by the fact that aloe propagation and cultivation is one of the identified strategies for aloe conservation and management outside protected areas with both ecological and social-economic benefits. The study was based on the awareness that Kenyan aloe species are listed under Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). This was as a result of unchecked utilizations of the aloe species leading to over-exploitation and wanton destruction of wild aloe population in1980s. The unsustainable harvesting of aloes posed many threats ranging from overexploitation to ecological imbalance and possible loss of some species. In response to the danger of over-exploitation several efforts to improve the aloe sector were initiated. They included a recommendation that CITES parties and the Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) support the development of community propagation and cultivation schemes for aloe species commonly exploited for aloe bitter gum. The recommendation led to formation of community and private initiatives in aloe enterprises such as Kieni Aloe Plantations and Kamuiga Artemisia Farmers in Kieni West division. However, the local community of the semi arid division of Kieni West has not yet embraced aloe cultivation as would be expected of an economic activity with potential to generate additional income. The investigation was done using a case study research design, a mixture of random and non random sampling methods: and a semi structured interview schedules. The research came up with qualitative data that was: categorized to group frequencies, analyzed using descriptive statistics in the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) data editor and presented in frequency tables, percentage frequencies, cross tabulation tables and Chi squired statistic test. The study found out that the respondents (56.6%) were generally aware of aloe propagation and cultivation but the awareness had not resulted in the adoption of the technology with only 2.1% having adopted. The legal requirements of growing aloes was generally unknown even by those who had adopted the innovation. Other factors affecting aloe propagation and cultivation were identified as: lack of information on propagation, management and harvesting of aloe among others classified in this study as driving and restraining factors affecting aloe propagation and cultivation. Arid environmental conditions and financial gains were identified as the major driving factors for adoption of aloe cultivation while lack of clear and favorable market and marketing channels was identified as the major restraining factor. The study concluded that adoption of aloe propagation and cultivation in Kieni West division is related to market information and access. The findings of this study will be useful to the policy makers and promoters of aloe propagation and cultivation in Kenya in assisting them re-orient their methodology of introducing the innovation to include the concerns of the community as discussed in this study