Gender Influence on Farmer’s Level of Involvement in Utilization and Conservation of Bambara Groundnut
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Aims: To understand the role of gender on Bambara groundnut cultivation with respect to levels of farmers’ involvement in utilization and conservation in Western Kenya. Study Design: A questionnaire was administered to 120 farmers in two districts. The districts neighbor each other and do share common ecological attributes and therefore, provided sufficient population for the study. Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in 2009 in Mumias and Butere Districts of Western Kenya. Methodology: Level of involvement in Bambara groundnut utilization and conservation activities was measured by farmers’ level of participation using Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and multiple regression equation. Aspects of utilization examined included food preparation, selling and social capital. Crop conservation variables analyzed included; seed selection, seed preservation and seed storage. Crop utilization (CUI) and Crop onservation (CCI) indices were computed to determine the relationship between gender and level of involvement. Results: There was significant influence of gender on farmer’s level of involvement in the districts. Involvement level of female farmers was higher than the male farmers in production and conservation activities. Overall, there was significant difference in the means of the computed CUI and CCI Indices between males and females. CCI indicated that women participation in conservation activities was higher (2.71+0.477 and 2.54+0.8) than the males (1.8+0.500 and 2.04+0.82) in both Mumias and Butere districts. This confirmed that the females have a higher level involvement in conservation activities than males. Computed CUI indicated considerable difference in means with women having a high index (2.86+0.315 and 2.6+0.713) than males (1.51+0.448 and 1.70+0.587). For both districts, ANOVA for Gender and CUI were significant (F=30.799, p=0.00; F=174.332, p=0.000) as was for CCI (F=46.913, p=0.000; F=6.304, p=0.015). Conclusion: The high level of involvement of female farmers in the utilization and conservation necessitate consideration of gender role in the transfer of farm technology. Findings provide extension agencies with guidelines for mainstreaming gender roles to target the right clientele by gender in order to enhance the revival and utilization of underutilized crops as an alternative food crop. Agricultural extension agents therefore need to adopt specific models of intervention, approaches and time schedules to enhance the role played by the farmers in revitalizing utilization and conservation of Bambara groundnut. Female farmers should be accorded special attention by extension officers seeking to improve agricultural productivity. Similarly dissemination of innovations to farmers should be appropriate to each gender.