Contribution of Multi-Purpose Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Duch.) to the Economy of Selected Kenyan Small-scale Households

Kiharason, J.W.1, Isutsa, D.K.1,2 and Ngoda, P.N.2

1Chuka University, P. O. Box 109-60400, Chuka, P. O. Box 484-60400, Chuka, Kenya

2Egerton University, P. O. Box 536-20115, Egerton, Kenya

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Kenya’s agricultural sector has generally been affected by repeated delays in rains that suppress farming. Farmers should therefore grow other non-staple crops which can do well with minimal rainfall. Pumpkin is one such crop that is drought-tolerant and requires very little care and labour. Majority of households do not utilize pumpkins regularly, although it is a multi-purpose food crop capable of forming basis for income and various commodities, including snacks, bakery products, and infant weaning foods. The present study established pumpkin’s socio-economic impact in households and extent of cultivation and sale. A cross-sectional survey using a semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 385 households in Nyeri County of Kenya. Results showed that majority of households earned low income, with 56.3% earning less than KSh. 12,000 per month. Pumpkin was grown by 71.4% of the households, but contributed to livelihoods of only 4.2% households. There was a high correlation between the number of pumpkin plants cultivated and amount of income received from pumpkin sale, r (16)=0.510, P=0.043. Pumpkin fruits contributed very little to income of the households and were not yet tapped to improve food security and livelihood of people in the area. Improving marketability of pumpkin could increase its demand, production level and sale to generate income for many resource-poor households.

Key words: Food security, Fruits, Income, Kenya, Nutrition security, Socio-economic impact

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