The Relationship between Small Scale Farmers’ Attitude towards Maize Farming and Maize Yield in the Agricultural Reform Era: The Case of Western Region of Kenya
Statement of the problem: The introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) and trade liberalisation resulted in agricultural reforms in Kenya and other developing countries. Hence the Kenya government no longer gives incentives to small scale farmers. This may have affected the attitude of small scale farmers’ towards maize farming and hence maize yield.
Study Purpose: The study was concerned about maize production in Western Region of Kenya because maize is the main staple for most of the Kenyan population and Western Region is the food basket.
Research Design: The study used Ex-post facto research design via cross sectional survey.
Materials and Methods: Busia, Bungoma, Mt. Elgon and Lugari Counties were purposively selected to represent the Western Region of Kenya. Two sub-counties from each of the four Counties were selected by simple random sampling. For uniformity purposes 200 small scale farmers were selected from focal areas through systematic random sampling hence ensuring that they all had been exposed to extension staff. Four key informants were sampled purposefully based on their positions of authority. In addition, 52 extension staffs were sampled through systematic random sampling. The small scale farmers were interviewed with the help of interview schedule containing open and closed ended questions. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: The study revealed that attitude towards maize farming correlated maximally to maize yield and that farmers’ attitude towards maize farming contributed to 17.4% of the variance in maize yield.
Conclusion: This means that the extension staff and change agents should improve the attitude of the farmers in order to improve maize yield.
Recommendation: The study recommended that the extension staff should teach the small scale farmers on the changes that have been brought about by Structural Adjustment Programmes and market liberalisation and how to take advantage of such opportunities such as form strong common interest groups. Research should develop innovations that would result in high maize yield at low farming costs.
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