Expansion of land use for sugarcane production in Dede division, Migori County, Kenya
Bundeh, Lennard William
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Increase in acreage of land put under sugarcane cultivation has been sustained globally as from 1950’s through the year 2000 up to date. Expansion of acreage under sugarcane has been occurring regardless of the size of agricultural land available in these areas. This study sought to determine the extent of expansion of land use for sugarcane production. Kenya has only approximately 582,646 square kilometers of land out of which only 20% is of agricultural potential. There is therefore need to carry out similar research in an area where there are limitations on the size of land available for Sugarcane expansion. The study adopted a descriptive research design with a sample size of 370 households drawn from a population of 9,503 households within Dede Division in Migori County. The study revealed that three quarters of the household heads (70.3%) who had given their land to an heir admitted that sugarcane was preferred by the beneficiaries followed by coffee (17.0%) and tobacco (12.7%). Before expansion of acreage under sugarcane, 27.1% of the land was set aside for maize and only 0.6% of the land was used for production of sugarcane. However, when commercialization of sugarcane started, the acreage under it increased from 0.6% to 61.2% per household. Its output increased from 1.8% to 97.8% tons. The study therefore concluded that; the allure of possible comfort from income generated through sugarcane production has contributed to the expansion of the area dedicated to it as a cash crop. This study therefore recommends that, measures be put in place by the Government to ensure that expansion of commercial sugarcane cultivation is controlled so as to boost food production.