S. N. Ndirangu1, S. G. Mbogoh2 and O. L. E. Mbatia2
1Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Embu, Kenya. 2Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
*Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org: 0723987104
Declining farm size as a result of continuing land fragmentation as population increases is a major policy concern in Sub-Saharan Africa in general and Kenya in particular. The government efforts to address land fragmentation in Kenya have been hampered by lack of adequate and reliable research-based information to guide policy formulation on land management and its impact on food security. Most of the studies conducted have focused on the effect of land fragmentation on land productivity and limited attention is given to productivity of labour and that of other key factors of production across different farm-size categories and different agro-ecological zones. It is against this backdrop that this study was conducted to evaluate the effect of land fragmentation on the returns to the key farm resources in different agro-ecological zones using the case of Embu County in Kenya. The data was collected from a sample comprising 384 farms that were selected from three agro-ecological zones in Embu County using multistage stratified sampling technique. The three agro-ecological zones were the Sunflower, Coffee and the Tea zones, based on the official AEZs classification system in Kenya. A stochastic Cobb-Douglas production function was used to determine the production relationship between farm output and the key farm inputs used. The effect of land fragmentation on return to land was found to be positive in all the three agro-ecological zones. The effects of land fragmentation on return to fertilizer and labour were however found to be negative in the Sunflower and Coffee zones, but the effect was insignificant in the Tea Zone. The study thus recommends that measures to increase the return to labour and fertilizer in the land fragmented areas in Kenya be undertaken.
Keywords: Cobb-Douglas production function, food security, land fragmentation, land reform policies, return to resources, resource productivity