Does Gender Matter in Agro-Food Manufacturing Sector? Perceptions of Micro and Small Scale Food Processors in Kenya

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Omillo-Okumu, Francis, Jude Omukaga, Jude

Abstract

This article is motivated by manufacturing and food security as critical components of the Big Four Agenda guiding development by Kenyan government today. However, gender asymmetry in the two sectors seems to frustrate the desired achievements. The research question “Does gender influence processing of advantageous food products among micro and small enterprises in Kenya?” guides the study. To answer this question, the study adopts a mix of constructivism and Longwe framework to survey micro and small food manufacturing enterprises registered in county governments of Busia and Nairobi, Kenya. Data is collected using both primary through interviews and literature review through refereed journals, reports and books. The enterprises are sampled by fisher sampling techniques in Nairobi and snowballing in Busia. The heads of the enterprises are interviewed by drop and pick semi structured questionnaires. The structured part is on a seven-point likert scale.  Out of 132 entrepreneurs interviewed, 130 correctly filled the questionnaires that are analyzed using descriptive and inferential techniques.  Explanatory study design is applied by both Pearson’s Correlation and Logit regression to determine the effect of gender on manufacturing advantageous foods in Kenya.   The findings showed more men-owned food processing enterprises than women-owned. The results also indicated inverse correlation between gender and manufacturing advantageous food products. However, enough evidence lack to demonstrate that gender significantly influence manufacture of advantageous food products (Wald (1) = 1.339, p= 0 .247, sig < .05, 2 tailed). However, attitudes indicating gender inequality among micro and small food processing entrepreneurs are still existent. The study recommends diffusion of gender equality norms by international and regional actors in developing countries. National and county governments of Kenya should mainstream gender in food processing policies and programs. Further studies could be done to determine the effect of gender on manufacturing sector other than food processing in Kenya. Other related studies could be done on the age of women, marital status and number of child bearing’s effect on food processing sector.

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