Analysis of existing agricultural information systems for post harvest management among smallholder farmers in Bomet County
This study analyzed the existing Agricultural information systems on post harvest management of cereal crops among smallholder farmers in South Rift, Kenya. The objectives, of the study were to 1)Document information sources, requirements and accessibility on post harvest management of cereal crops among smallholder farmers. 2) Establish the role of service providers in Agriculture in enhancing smallholder farmers' access effective agricultural information on post harvest management of cereal crops. 3) Find out sociodemographic characteristics of smallholder farmers which influence agricultural information on post harvest management of cereal crops. A descriptive research design was used for the study. A multi-stage sampling and simple random sampling methods were used to randomly select a total of 140 smallholder cereal farmers for the survey. Five Agricultural information service providers were purposively selected. The study used open and close ended questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and direct observations to collect primary data. Descriptive statistics were used to establish associations between agricultural information systems and selected socio-economic variables. The study yielded 136 respondents representing 97% response rate. Results revealed that 61% of smallholder farmers reported extension agents as source of agricultural information, 48% from mass media and 1% from public research institutions and Universities thus showing lack of information support from the institutional sources for agricultural production. The results further showed that 15.4 % of smallholder farmers have no access to agricultural information on Post harvest management, 61 % access agricultural information once/year which is inadequate for effective agricultural information dissemination since there are two cropping seasons per year. The main problems cited were low agricultural incomes and limited agricultural experience. The study recommended retraining of extension agents on new post harvest management technologies in ever changing leT environment and closer cooperation between different actors on common post harvest activities.