Analysis of Institutional Factors Affecting Optimization of Coffee Yields in Chuka Sub-County, Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya
Kihoro, David M.
Gathungu, Geofrey K.
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The importance of coffee production in the world economy cannot be ruled out due to its contribution in the developing countries in areas such as creation of employment and rise in foreign exchange. Most of the coffee producing countries in the world have come up with strategies to increase their quantity and improve the quality of their produce. In Kenya, the government have also come with numerous policies to support coffee production at the farm level but production of coffee in Kenya has since 1989 crop year been declining. There has been emergence of other enterprises that are profitable than coffee production such as real estate and dairy sector in most of the coffee-growing zones, but there are many farmers who have been determined to maintain coffee production. Despite the efforts made by the government to maximise coffee production in terms of quality and quantity, production has shown a downward trend, with some farmers completely doing away with production This study was aimed at assessing the factors that affect optimization of coffee production in Chuka sub-County, Tharaka-Nithi County. Proportional stratified random sampling was used to select a sample of 153 respondents from a population of 7,428 small-scale coffee farmersfrom ten cooperatives in the sub-County. The findings of the study indicated that access to extension, access to research and management of coffee cooperative were essential in coffee production with a mean agreement of 58.33%. The research established that access to extension (5%) and management of cooperatives (5%) were statistically significant while access to research at (5%) was statistically insignificant. Similarly, access to extension services increased optimization by 91%, poor management of coffee cooperatives reduced production by 45.1%, while access to research increased coffee production by 51%. Therefore, it is important to ensure farmers access extension services, research and there is improved management of coffee cooperatives.