The potential impact of improved maize seeds and fertlllsers on food security and incomes of smallholder farmers in the Mumias sugar scheme
MetadataShow full item record
The high incidence of poverty (35% in 2002) and food insecurity in Kenya has prompted the government to put in place policy measures such as the Poverty reduction strategy paper, the economic recovery strategy to complement the national development plans in' combating these ills In addition the government has promised to create 500,000 jobs per year to address unemployment, low incomes and poverty In contribution to strengthening the government policy formulation capacity this study seeks to establish the impact of use of improved maize seeds and fertilizers and optimal farm planning on household incomes and food securitv in the Mumias Sugar Scheme The study analyzed data collected at baseline and during project intervention use of unproved seeds and fertilizers and the accompanying yields of maize, beans and sugarcane and their implications on household incomes and food security The study used stratified purposive random sampling techniques to select the 120 farmers who were interviewed Grossmargins were calculated and used to carry out impact analysis while Linear-programming (LP) models were used to derive optimal farm plans The site of the study was the Mumias Sugar Scheme in Butere-Mumias district. which is the largest sugar scheme in Kenya Results of this stud v showed that households realized very low yields of maize, beans and sugarcane under both baseline and project intervention production conditions.which led to low incomes and food insecurity The low yields were mainly attributed to the low rates of fertilizer applications. which were less than half the recommended rat e s However there was a slight improvement In yields of maize and beans, household incomes and food security under project intervention conditions. More than 50 percent of the households experienced severe food insecurity under baseline conditions but the situation improved to 40 percent under project intervention and it was attributed to improvements in yields. The improvement in yields was attributed to the increase in the amount of fertilizers and improved maize seeds applied The demonstration sugarcane crop during project intervention had not matured by the end of this study but yields are expected to improve as a result of the close supervision being undertaken by the Mumias Farmers Development Group (MUFADG) The improvement in yield is expected to improve incomes. food security and reduce poverty The Linear programming results showed that optimal farm planning could improve farm incomes tremendouslv and that capital and labour were the main constraints to crop production in the Mumias sugar Scheme. Sensitivity analysis further showed that additional capital could improve the total farm income but capital productivity P percent) under baseline production conditions did not generate adequate returns t() capital to meet the market rate of interest (23 percent p a ) at the time of the study However. capital productivity (7S percent) increased under project intervention production conditions, which implied that farmers could profitably utilize available credit at 23 percent rate of interest The study therefore recommends that farmers use more improved maize seeds and fertilizers to improve yields, income and food security The studv also recommends that farmers practice optimal farm planning to Improve farm income The study further recommends that the government and other stakeholders promote establishment of affordable sources of credit in the scheme, as capital was a serious constraint to crop production. Finally, the study recommends further research to evaluate the outcome of the MUFAG managed demonstration sugarcane crop so as to determine its effect on incomes and food security in the Mumias Sugar Scheme.