The Effect of Tea Growing on Household Welfare: Case Study of Kayonza Subcounty, Kanungu District
Musinguzi, Derrick Dembe
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The main objective of the study was to assess the effects of tea growing on household welfare in Kanungu District and Kayonza Sub County in particular. The research process was guided by four hypotheses investigating relationships between access to extension services, status of tea membership, credit services, level of education of the farmer and household welfare. Household welfare was however reconstructed into an index consisting of variables such as the type of floor, power source, access to piped water, communication media available in the home and the main means of transport. The study used a sample of 50 households of tea farmers selected through non probability, convenient sampling and data was collected through questionnaires and Key Informant Interviews and later cleaned, organized and analyzed using techniques in STATA such as cross tabulation analysis and multiple regression analysis. The findings of the study show that tea farmers with access to loans are more likely to use/have hydroelectric power in their homes unlike those without access to loans who are majorly constrained by the high security requirements for these loans and the high interest loans. According to the study, farmers with considerably large tea estates have better accessibility to loans due to undeniable security hence have higher standards of living (welfare) in their households.In addition, tea farmers without access to credit are less likely to own a television set compared to those who can easily access loans in different financial institutions. There is a significant relationship between the status of tea membership and the type of floor in the home and the source of power used in such a way that the odds(8.7) of a farmer having a mud floored houseare very high for those without any cooperative affiliations compared to those with membership in the various cooperatives which gives members access to resources non-members don‟t have access to such as lower rates, exemptions,etc. In the same way, tea farmers who are not attached to any cooperative were significantly (p value = 0.018) less likely to be using hydroelectric power in their homes. However, access to extension services by a farmer and the welfare index used in the study were found to be completely independent, hence no relationship between access to extension services and the welfare index components used in this study. In conclusion, the welfare of the tea growing households in the sub county largely depends on accessibility to credit, status of tea membership and to a small extent, the education level of the farmers. The low incomes from tea farming are to some extent attributed to gender inequalities portrayed through labour distribution on the farm and low agro input use as the majority of the community is still largely dependent on traditional agricultural methods. In my opinion the government should finance trials of labour saving technologies in food and cash crop production, developing value chains for food crops, and should also consider trainings for both men and women on gender inequalities. Taking such action could guarantee supplementary incomes besides tea growing for farmers to support their families and boost their standards of living.