International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Challenges and Benefits of Organic Farming among Farmers in Nembure Division, Embu County-Kenya
Moses Kathuri Njeru

In appreciating the growing concern on the environmental risks associated with modern agriculture, organic farming has been mooted as an environmentally friendly farming practice. However, organic farming needs to be examined in the view of benefits and challenges associated with it. This paper evaluates the practice of organic farming by examining the challenges and benefits associated with it in Nembure Division of Embu County, Kenya. Descriptive research design was used for the study. Proportionate stratified sampling was used in selecting 37% of organic farmers in the Division. All the twelve agricultural extension officers were purposively selected for the study. Pre-testing of the questionnaires for the organic farmer respondents and the extension officers was done to ensure their validity and reliability. The reliability coefficients obtained for the farmers’ and extension officers’ questionnaires were 0.79 and 0.82 respectively. Basic descriptive and inferential statistics were used in analysis through a computer package Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 11.5 for windows. High certification fees among 57% of the farmer respondents, labour intensity in double digging (61.7%), conflicting advice on farming techniques (76.7%) and inadequate market incentives for organic produce; constituted the main challenges facing organic farming. Organic farming was found to have helped improve soil fertility and soil-water conservation, thus increasing crop production among 83.3% of farmer respondents. This led to enhanced food security among 90% of the farmer respondents. Sale of surplus meant improved income to 80% of the farmer respondents. The study therefore considered organic farming to be a feasible production system towards sustainable development. The study recommends development of an organic farming policy in Kenya through wide consultation with all stakeholders.

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