DANQUAH JONES ABREFA
University of Bonn, Resource Management, Germany
In Kenya, important genetic resources include the African Leafy vegetables (ALVs), which are extremely important for food security, nutrition and poverty alleviation. However, the reservoir of these genetic resources is under threat of erosion due to policy emphasis on exotic vegetables. Moreover, scanty or virtually no economic analysis on incentives and species choice behaviour has been conducted. Thus, this thesis focuses on the assessment of various incentives for on-farm conservation of ALVs genetic resources in western Kenya. It has two specific objectives: one, to determine appropriate economic incentives which could be used in policy formulation for on-farm conservation of ALVs, and two, to determine the `inbuilt' incentives that influence farmers' species choice behaviour. Using a species count diversity index constructed from 207 randomly sampled farm households, the above incentives are determined through an econometric analysis. Favourable market access and farm gate prices have been identified as key economic incentives that would encourage farmers to maintain the ALVs in their farms. Further, it has been documented that farmers' social capital and experience of cultivating the vegetables are `inbuilt' incentives in the local communities that enhance retention of ALVs diversity. However, increase in labour availability over production period and higher levels of land security are strong `inbuilt' incentives associated with less ALVs diversity in the study area. Assessing the importance of wild vegetables to the local farmers, it was actually found that these species of ALVs are more threatened by genetic erosion than the cultivated ones. The results of this thesis could be used to promote or inform policy decisions on on-farm conservation of ALVs in western Kenya.
Keywords: Assessment, incentives, conservation, African Leafy Vegetable, genetic resources