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Abstract

Modernization and commercialization of the smallholder agricultural sector provides the stimulus and impetus to reducing food insecurity in developing countries. This study seeks to fill the gaps in the literature particularly by comprehensive conceptualization of the drivers of commercialization at a household level and across different socio-economic and agro-ecological zonation in the wake of promotion of collective action initiatives and the newly introduced but vastly penetrating ICT tools (mobile phones). The purpose of this study is to highlighting determinants of agricultural commercialization (market participation) by the farm households in Kenya. Specifically, special focus is given to the role played by gender, collective action initiatives and information communication technologies (ICTs) as well as interaction of these factors among the farm households in Kenya. The study uses a Tobit regression model to assess the determinants of commercialization using data of 379 farm households in three different districts in Kenya. The study finds that farmer-specific characteristics, farm-specific and capital endowment variables influence the commercialization process. Female farmers are constrained from market participation; however, collective action initiatives (farmer groups) as well as use of ICT tools (mobile phones) significantly and positively influence their commercialization. The implications for policy and practice are discussed.

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