A study of socio-economic factors in farm productivity of small, medium and large-scale farmers in Mathira and Municipal Divisions, Nyeri district
Kariuki, Samuel M
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The central aim of this study is to investigate the impact of socio-economic factors namely, land size, pricing system, labour, extension, credit system, food cash crop dualism, membership to co-operatives, type of farm equipments and literacy on agricultural production on small, medium and large farms in Nyeri District. The unit of analysis utilized in the study is the farm household. Probability and none probability sampling was used to get the sample population. The sample size consisted of 128 respondents. The main research tool utilized in the study was the survey technique where structured interviews were administered by use of a standard questionnaire, while unstructured interviews were used in the key informant technique. This study is guided by one of the major tenets of modernization paraqigm. According to the modernization paradigm, modernity at the farm level can only be achieved through the adoption of technology which conforms to the needs of farmers. The central finding of the study is that in coffee production, the socio-economic factors that contribute sigriificantly to coffee production were namely money spent on agro-chemicals and land size in the small and large farms. For food crop production, it was noted that money spent on seeds and land size were the most significant factors that influenced food production. It was therefore inferred that socio-economic factors that are viewed as the main modernizing agents at farm level do not on an equitable level account for a significant contribution in increasing farm productivity. Only land size and monetary investments offered a significant contribution towards farm productivity. Based on the findings of the study, the study made the following recommendations; A review of the agricultural prices which were quite high, a review of the credit and extension facilities which rarely existed in the study area, a review of regulations governing land fragmentation since majority of the farmers farmed land parcels that are too small to offer them meaningful economic gains. Research on horticultural farming and .irrigation should be conducted in the small farmer's region, since farmers are disillusioned by the prohibitive use of Government piped water for farm activities.