SOCIAL ECONOMIC FACTORS INFLUENCING TEA PRODUCTION BY SMALL HOLDER TEA FARMERS: A CASE OF KIRINYAGA COUNTY IN KENYA
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According to literature the World tea supply was increasing at a higher rate than demand.
The world was concerned about an oversupply of tea against decreasing consumption and
low prices. This study intended to inquire into social economic factors influencing increased
tea production. This case study focused on smallholder tea farmers in Kirinyaga County and
was guided by the four main objectives. The study aimed at assessing how levels of
education and poverty influenced tea production. The study also wanted to establish how
availability of farm inputs and tea market influenced tea production by the smallholder tea
farmer. Kenya continues expanding tea production and is observed to be largest World
black tea exporter after Sir Lanka.
Descriptive survey design was used as the research methodology for this study. A valid and
reliable structured questionnaire was used as the principal research instrument. The main
findings of the study were that education levels, availability of both farm inputs and market,
and poverty, all interact to influence increased tea production.
The analysed findings mainly indicated that, a more understanding of the social economic
variables surrounding tea production by the policy makers and tea related institutions was
necessary in order to plan adequately for the smallholder tea farmer. This study
recommended that the Government, the Tea Board of Kenya, the Tea Research Foundation
of Kenya and the KTDA put down an appropriate infrastructure and formulate sustainable
tea technologies. Economical strategies for the farmer will also be required. Further
research was recommended in various areas.