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Title: How can Micro-Level Household Information Make a Difference for Agricultural Policy Making?
Authors: Argwings-Kodhek, Gem
Jayne, T.S.
Nyambane, Gerald
Awuor, Tom
Yamano, T.
Keywords: Smallholder Agriculture
Non Farm Activities
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Tegemeo Institute
Abstract: Agriculture forms the foundation of Kenya’s economy. However, the information base on agriculture % including basic indicators on farmers’ input, production, and marketing behavior, household food consumption patterns, etc. % is weak and largely outdated. Agricultural policy is largely made on the basis of conventional wisdom about the way things work. In a dynamic, evolving economy, long-standing perceptions may become increasingly inconsistent with current reality, particularly when the system has been exposed to dramatic changes such as structural adjustment, market liberalization, and the advent of new technology. In such a setting, entrenched perceptions about the way farmers, traders and consumers actually behave may lead to unintended and even counterproductive government policy. This paper aims to demonstrate how monitoring the rural economy through timely, periodic and reasonably representative household surveys can inform debate on existing and emerging policy issues. Agricultural policy in Kenya revolves around the widely accepted goals of income growth, commercialization, food security and equity considerations. But progress toward these goals cannot be measured, and expenditures in their pursuit be prioritized or justified, in the absence of data on how the agricultural economy really works. While agricultural data is collected by various organizations in Kenya, it is frequently reported in ways that cannot usefully shed light on major policy issues or inform key policy debates. The weak state of agricultural sector data makes planning on the basis of available data extremely hazardous. This leaves analysts and policy makers with little apart from intuition, conventional wisdom and political expediency as guides to policy making. Tegemeo is contributing to improved policy making through availing policy relevant data to sectoral policy makers. This paper presents baseline data (1996/1997 season) on a set of indicators of the state of agriculture and rural welfare that are useful for monitoring policy objectives mentioned earlier % income growth, commercialization, food security and equity. The paper also provides information on rural conditions and perceptions that are not commonly reported by other statistical organizations in Kenya. The report is organized into sections as follows: Section 2. Sample Design and Selection Section 3. Sources and Levels of Rural Household Income Section 4. Agricultural Production and Input Use Section 5. Household Food Consumption Patterns Section 6. Household Crop Purchase and Sale Behavior Section 7. Household Perceptions of Changes in the Performance of the Grain Marketing System Section 8. Equity Section 9. Conclusions
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