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Master Thesis

The role of agricultural extension services in maize (Zea mays) production in Chuka division, Tharaka-Nithi District, Kenya

Abstract : Food insecurity is a very serious problem in Tharaka-Nithi District. The extension services are inadequate, not timely and does not translate to higher maize productivity. This study investigated the role of agricultural extension services in maize production in Chuka Division, Tharaka-Nithi District, Kenya, with a view to making recommendations for effective delivery and adoption of agricultural extension services. The specific objectives of this study were: to evaluate the influence of spatial location of the farmers in provision of extension services and on farming activities; to establish the timeliness of agricultural extension services; to evaluate the status of farmer training and farming demonstration; to identify the main methods of information dissemination and constraints to effective delivery and adoption of extension services; and to make recommendations for effective delivery and adoption of extension services in the study area.
Both primary and secondary qualitative and quantitative data were collected. Primary data was collected through the use of questionnaire from a sample of 130 respondents comprising of 120 farmers and 10 extension officers. Observation method was also used to complement the primary data. Secondary data was collected from relevant published and unpublished materials, such as textbooks, journals, reports and newspapers. The conceptual framework, which guided the study is derived from agricultural knowledge system model, diffusion and participatory methodological approaches. The data collected was analyzed using the computer spreadsheet package, statistical package for social go sciences (SPSS).
The salient findings of this study are: farmers located close to Chuka Town (the district headquarters) at a range of 0-10 Kilometers received the extension services more regularly as opposed to farmers beyond 11 Kilometers. Extension services in the study area were not timely. All the farmers (100%) were aware of the existence of extension services in the study area, but only 3 1.66% (38) of them received timely extension services. The status of farmer training in the study area was low, while farming demonstration was moderate. The main method of information dissemination adopted by the extension officers was group method while individual visits was least utilized. The major constraints to delivery and adoption of research and extension services were lack of means of transport and fear of low yields respectively.
On the basis of these findings, it is recommended that: The extension officers should be provided with means of transport (mobility) for wide area coverage. The extension officers should ensure that the farmers are visited on a regular basis. Farmer training should be upheld, and the farmers should be motivated to adopt what they learn during training. This study also recommends that an agricultural show ground should be developed in the district for annual agricultural exhibitions. Attempts should be made by the extension machinery to step up individual visits to the farmers. More extension officers should be recruited and trained. Further research should focus on: training needs assessment for the extension officers; effective channels of information dissemination; and gender relations in agricultural extension especially on the impact of gender discrimination in adoption of extension recommendations
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Master Thesis
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Elias Nabea Muriithi. The role of agricultural extension services in maize (Zea mays) production in Chuka division, Tharaka-Nithi District, Kenya. Geography. 2003. ⟨dumas-01330939⟩

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