An analysis of the effects of information flow in Agricultural innovation: A case study of Sorghum growing in Makueni County, Kenya
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Sorghum (sorghum bicolor) is a major crop in the semi-arid region of Makueni County and the country at large. It is considered a major enterprise to mitigate against food insecurity in those dry areas where other crops may not do well. Knowledge is a key asset for any organisation and it is the ingredient in innovation transfer. A study was carried out to determine information flow as it relates to adoption of sorghum growing in Makueni County and Mukaa sub-county chosen as a representative sub-county. All the sorghum farmers in Mukaa were identified and 161 questionnaires administered with 151 responding. The objectives of the study were: to find out the factors that contribute to the low adoption of sorghum growing in Makueni County in relation to information flow, establish the problems faced by sorghum farmers and how they mitigate those problems. A sample size of 161 farmers was picked from a sample frame of 161 to represent farmers in Makueni County. The findings showed that 67% of the sorghum farmers were aged between 49 and 60 years of age. It is grown as a secondary crop and therefore given very low attention as compared to the other crops grown in the area. It showed that most farmers had put less than 1 acre under sorghum. Farmers allocate a small portion of their cultivated land because they have limited choices of utilization as most farmers said they do not consume sorghum, this is despite there been various sorghum recipes. Lack of market and pest attack contributed to its low adoption. Farmers expressed high level of confidence with information from the Ministry of Agriculture and KARI. However information from KARI was not readily available. Information from the Ministry of Agriculture was disseminated mainly through barazas but this method was ranked as the least effective as compared to the other dissemination methods. Field days, demonstrations and farmers trainings were ranked the most effective methods. But they are not as frequent as the barazas. The study showed that farmers had very low confidence with Agricultural information disseminated through the mass media notably the Radio while a small percentage of 1% appreciated receiving information from the internet. It also showed that most farmers are able to reach the agricultural extension officers without much problem and suggested the use of groups, field days and trainings as the vehicle for transmitting Agricultural innovation to them. Farmers had their own methods of mitigating problems encountered in sorghum growing which included birds scaring, use of family labour and encouraging each other to change eating habits and start consuming sorghum products.