Eric Bett, Bernhard Freyer, Job Lagat:
Effect of Agricultural Commercialisation on Selected Agrobiodiversity and Household Income: A Case Study of Smallholder Households, Nakuru, Kenya


1University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Inst. of Organic Farming, Austria
2Egerton University, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kenya

The Kenya government strategy for revitalizing agriculture (SRA; 2004-2014) presents strategic interventions to transform agriculture into a competitive and market-oriented enterprise. This strategy of commercialising agriculture is aimed at eradicating food insecurity and poverty at household level. However, it has been envisaged to negate efforts concerning conservation of agrobiodiversity and pause a greater threat to household food insecurity. There is therefore a need to find out the effect of comercialisation of on"=farm agrobiodiversty. The research question was whether it is possible to meet the strategic objectives of SRA without compromising agrobiodiversity especialy among smallholder farming community in Kenya. The paper first discusses aspects of the policy of promoting market"=oriented production as opposed to conventional subsistence and diversified systems.

Secondly, it presents analytical results from intensive farmer interviews and finally draw conclusions and policy implications. This is an issue that warrants investigation to establish a reality of policy's effects on agrobiodiversity and household income and consequently food security. The study was carried out in the East Mau catchment, Nakuru district, in Rift valley, Kenya, an area that has recently undergone rapid land use changes.

The selected effect components of the study were number of crop/animal species kept for agrobiodiversity, proportion of marketed output for commersialisation and on-farm cash income per annum. Results reveal that market-oriented production increases income and crop diversity at household level. The study recommends diversification of commercial crops, livestock and popularising farm enterprise with products that can be utilised locally rather than depending on external market for food security.

Keywords: Agrobiodiversity, commercialisation, strategy for revitalizing agriculture


Contact Address: Eric Bett, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Inst. of Organic FarmingForsthausgasse 2-8/2302 1200 Vienna, Wien, Austria, e-mail:
Andreas Deininger, November 2007