ARE THERE SIGNIFICANT WELFARE OUTCOMES FOR FARMERS WHO PARTICIPATE IN GLOBAL COMMODITY CHAINS? THE CASE OF EXPORT HORTICULTURAL FARMERS IN KIRINYAGA REGION OF KENYA
The aim of this study was to determine whether farmers participating in export horticulture were better off
than farmers who did not. This study is informed by debates on how globalisation and specifically global trade
impacts on small farmers in third world countries, with proponents arguing that it has positive impacts and
opponents arguing that participation in global commodity systems has little impact or ueven detrimental to
small farmers. This study aimed to compare the welfare of participants in export horticulture with those of
non-participants using both income and non-income indicators. A survey of 360 farmers was carried out in
Kirinyaga to obtain household data with 240 export farmers and 120 non-export farmers being interviewed.
Simple mean comparisons were used to determine whether significant differences existed between French
bean and non-French bean farmers. Both income and non-income indicators were used to determine welfare
outcomes for the two groups of farmers. The study found that there were some differences in welfare
indicators between those who participatd and those who do not participate in French bean production,
specifically in the type of housing, asset endowment and income. However, although export French beans,had
a positive impact on participating farmers, its impact is declining as farmers’ incomes from it are reducing.