Constraints to agricultural development of large Scale farms in Moiben Division, Uasin Gishu District
During the last few decades many of the third World Countries Kenya included, have been involved in the development of agricultural sectors as a basic development programme, the purpose of which is directly to increase food supply through raising productivity per unit of land and increase employment potential of this sector. In order for the above goals to be achieved, the resources: land, labour, machinery, fertilizers, improved seed etc, must be available to produce the desired commodities in the desired quantities. The prices of products and inputs must be such that collectively, farmers who individually have control of various combinations of resources, will be induced to produce sufficient output to meet national requirements. Without adequate infrastructure such as availability of farm inputs at the righttime, marketing channels, processing and storage facilities, farmer training, veterinary work, credit provision etc, bottlenecks arise which curtail the growth of agricultural output per unit of land. In Kenya, we have a dualistic structure of agriculture: small scale and large scale farms. At the national policy level as shown in the Development Plans 1974 - 1978, and 1979 - 83, the Government seems to favour small scale production on the ground that productivity per unit of land is higher. Yet, the production of cereals such as maize and wheat on large scale could equally meet the objectives outlined above. The general objective of this study was to identify constraints to agricultural development of large scale farms in Moiben Division, in Uasin Gishu District, a district which has had a long history as a large scale farm mixed farming area in both pre and post independent eras of Kenya. A sample survey of 54 farmers was selected in order to examine the factors which limit agricultural production. Analysis of the data from the survey using descriptive statistics has shown several constraints to agricultural development in the area. These include: unregistered farms which limit the use of such farms as collateral security for credit, high degree of slope which limits farm mechanization on some farms, (V) shortage of labour during peak demand periods, low level of farm management skills, shortage of farm machinery, low rate of fertilizer input per hectare, inadequate transportation facilities, in operative cattle dips and water projects, inadequate marketing and storage facilities, and low level of off-farm job opportunities. These constraints are closely interrelated. Consequently, a comprehensive planning approach to their alleviation is advocated. The specific measures include: completion of land registration of unregistered farms, education of farmers on a wide range of soil conservation methods, raise the level of fertilizer input per hectare, improvement of farm management skills of farmers, speeding up processing of loan applications by lending institutions. ensuring timely availability of farm inputs and within easy reach of the farmers; introduction of tractor-hire service, upgrading grade E roads especially in peripherally located areas, increasing the storage capacities of National Cereals and Produce Board Depots at Moisbridge and Eldoret, streamlining the operation and management of water projects and cattle dips and, finally, it is recommended that consideration be given to a study of the viability of constructing a milk cooling plant within the Division.