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Jacob Gitobu Kibiti - Master of Arts in Project Planning and Management, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Amos K. Gitonga - University of Nairobi, Kenya


The conversion of farm land and water sheds for residential or commercial purposes have negative consequences on food security, water supply as well as the health of the people both in the cities and in the peri-urban areas.  Urban hydroponic farming has thus emerged as a complimentary strategy to reduce urban poverty, food insecurity and enhance urban environmental management. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the factors influencing adoption of urban hydroponic farming in Meru town, Meru County. The study objective were ; To identify how availability of capital, access to water, farmer awareness and type of crop influence the adoption of urban hydroponic farming. In this study descriptive research design was employed. The reason for selecting descriptive research design was that design describes the state of affairs as it exists at present; in this case the researcher had no control over the variables. The target population of this study was 1080 urban farmers who were involved in urban agriculture within Meru town. From the calculations using Waston (2001) formulae, a sample size of 150 urban farmers was selected and represented 14 percent of the target population. Data was collected by the use of questionnaires and interview schedules. Raw data collected from the field was first cleaned for errors, coded, analyzed and categorized as per the research questions in order to simplify it for presentation. Data was analyzed and presented descriptively using statistical package for social science version 20. Qualitative data was checked for completeness and cleaned ready for data analysis. Content analysis was used in processing the data and results presented in prose form. Out of this sample size, 135 questionnaires were filled and returned accounting for 90% response rate. 50.67% of the urban farmers were female while 49.33% of the urban farmers were male. This implies that both men and women are equally involved in urban farming in Meru town. 49.3% of the urban farmers had secondary education, 24.7% of the urban farmers had primary education and below, 16.7% of the urban farmers had college education and 9.3% of the urban farmers had university education. The study found out that 52 % of the urban farmers did not invest any funds acquired by credit in their urban farming and the average income they achieved per season was Kshs. 2895. Though a significant number of farmers had not received any training on farming, standing at about 53%, the result also showed an inclination in receiving training from private institutions, NGOs and the Government of Kenya. The study found out that availability of water for irrigation determined whether urban farmers in Meru town are able to produce throughout the season and thus increase in their income particularly from higher prices during the dry season. The study found that types of crops grown and number of months taken by the crop to reach to maturity determined the income that the farmers obtained. The study recommends that financial institutions that offer formal credit should be encouraged to stop categorizing urban agriculture as risky, costly and difficult investment venture that involves high transaction costs and unpredictable returns.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)