best horticultural farming practices; farmer group; smallholder farmers


This study aimed at establishing the relationship between group membership and application of best horticultural farming practices (BHFP) among the group and non-group farmers in Meru County, Kenya. A descriptive design involving a cross-sectional survey was applied to address the research objectives. The target population consisted of 4950 smallholders from horticultural group and non-group farmers. The study sample was 224 farmers chosen through stratified random sampling. Data were gathered using a researcher-developed questionnaire. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were employed in data analysis. The analysis was accomplished using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The study revealed a variance in mean BHFP application scores between groups' farmers (M =76.49, SD = 4.78) and non-groups' farmers (M = 67.71, SD = 8.57). There was a positive substantial correlation between group membership and application of BHFP, which was statistically significant (rpb = .50, N = 224, p < .01). Discriminant function analysis revealed that Wilks’ lambda was significant, λ = .47, χ2 (16) = 162.63, p = <.05, R2 = .53 implying that the group means differed significantly. Farmers in groups applied BHFP more than the non-group farmers hence a clear association between group membership and BHFP application. The study recommends that farmer groups should be promoted to facilitate dissemination and application of BHFP.