Impact of Trade Liberalization policy on Small Scale Rice Farmers in Ahero Irrigation Scheme Nyando District, Western Kenya

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Ruth A Orlale
Trade liberalization policy is the reduction of trade and non-trade barriers to intemational trade in goods and ' services produced according to the law of comparative advantage. The policy was implemented in 1992 with intention of stimulating agI1cuitmal production and economic growth. Farmers were to benefit from increased yield, access to profitable markets and increased income. Twenty years after implementation statistics still show that the poverty level in Nyando district is 66% up from 63% this shows that poverty stil1 exists and that Fanners are not benefiting from the purported fruits of trade liberalization. The objectives of this study were: to determine Fanners' knowledge on trade liberalization policy requirements, compare yield and income before and after policy implementation, examine ways challenges resulting from implementing trade liberalization policy in Ahero irrigation scheme, The study sample was 234 and it was drawn from NIB rice fanners' and relevant stakeholders in Nyando district and a stratified and purpose sampling techniques were used respectively. The data was collected by using a structured questionnaire (Appendix 1), Focus Group Discussions (Checklist as Appendix 2) and observation and was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study found that farmers had inadequate knowledge of trade liberalization policy requirements, rice yields had decreased and fanners earned low incomes. The study recommends NIB should be restructured for technical knowledge and investment in value addition and farmer market association should be established to strengthen fanners ' skil1s to effectively participate in trade policy interpretation and implementation process and benefit from the expected outputs,