Factors affecting the performance of Cereal Banks: a case of Bungoma County, Kenya
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This study sought to determine effect of selected factors on the performance of Cereal Banks in Bungoma County of Kenya. This was prompted by the perceived problems associated with the functioning of marketing of maize leading to exploitation of small scale farmers and the failure of Cereal Banks ( CBs) in West Africa where they first established. The study-was guided by the following objectives; to determine the effect of the acreage under maize production on the performance of cereal banks, to determine the effect of access to credit on the performance of cereal banks, to determine the effect of maize productivity and maize production on the performance Cereal Banks, to determine the effect of the farm-gate price of maize on the performance of cereal banks and to determine the level of participation of Cereal Bank members in Cereal Bank activities on the performance of Cereal Banks. The research questions formulated to help clarify the study were; to what extend did the acreage under maize production affect the performance of Cereal Banks, to what extend did access to credit affect the performance of cereal banks, to what extend did maize Productivity and production affect the performance of Cereal banks, to what extend did the farm-gate price of maize affect the performance of Cereal Banks and to what extend did the level of participation of affect the performance of Cereal Banks. The study reviewed literature on the agricultural industry and the theoretical as well as empirical literature on marketing of agricultural produce. The study also reviewed literature on the history and concept of Cereal Banks. The study adopted an ex-post facto descriptive survey research design. 6 CBs in six divisions were sampled and 108 CB member farmers were selected as respondents. Questionnaires, interview schedules and observation schedules were used to collect data from the respondents. The study concluded that the selected factors adversely affected the performance of Cereal banks. A cumulative 65.70% of the respondents sold maize to CBs during the three years the CBs were actively involved in maize trade that is an average of only 21.90% per year. The performance of CBs was poor and all of them abandoned maize trade by the 2007/2008 crop season. Only Chwele CB is somewhat still active but is no longer engaged in maize trade. The study found that Chwele CB was involved in improved Banana farming, merry go round and social welfare activities. The rest of the CBs are dormant and probably dead. The study recommended that appropriate and workable models of producer and marketing organizations be explored, developed and validated. The researcher suggested that other factors that affected the performance of Cereal banks be thoroughly investigated. The researcher further suggested other studies be carried out to investigate the apathy towards grassroots group incentives such as producer organizations, cooperatives et cetera and the fear for credit.