An evaluation of agricultural knowledge and information systems In adoption: The case of grain amaranth production in Lugari, Kakamega County, Kenya
The access to agricultural information by smallholders for improved agricultural production has increased the application of agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS). The purpose of this study was to establish the factors that affect the use of AKIS tools by smallholder grain amaranth farmers in Lugari, Kakamega County, Kenya. The AKIS tools in this study included radio, mobile, extension agents, researchers and fanner to fanner. Using purposive sampling, the study selected 5 villages with 131 respondents to respond to questionnaires for data collection. Descriptive analysis was done by SPSS software while quantitative analysis was done by STATA software. The result;; indicate that majority of the respondents own radio (84.7%), are able to access radio (87.8%) and are able to use radio for grain amaranth information (40.5%).84% of respondents own mobile, 90.8% are able to access and only 64.1% use it for grain amaranth information. 78.6% of respondents are able to access extension agents but only 15.3% use them for grain amaranth production. Researchers are only accessed by 15.3% of respondents. Farmer-farmer communication is very effective as they access each other at 71.8% and use each other's information at 93.9%. The findings suggest that farmer-farmer (interpersonal) communication, FM Radio stations and cellular phones are important AKIS tools in improving small scale agriculture in rural areas. The use of AKIS tools and socio-economic factors has significant effect in the adoption of grain amaranth production by smallholder grain amaranth farmers. The study recommends that the government strengthens the use of AKIS tools by restructuring research-extension-farmer linkages and making it affordable for farmer to buy mobiles and airtime for information sourcing. Deployment of technical extension staff should be based on their professional training and prevailing enterprises within the localities.