Constraints to agricultural development and their implications to rural planning: A Case study of Meita Division, South Nyanza District, Kenya.
This study was prompted by the low level of agricultural production and development in Mbita Division in South Nyanza District. The average net farm income in the division is only about KShs.I,545 per annum. This level of income is low and inadequate to cater for the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing especially given that the average family size is 7. This study therefore set to examine the causes of the low agricultural p!:'oduction and development in the division with the aim of suggesting and finding alternative ways through which agricultural production could be increased. It also set to examine the effectiveness of District Development Planning in rural agricultural development. The study has identified several problems to agriculture in the division. The problems are of economic, s~al and physical nature. Some of the problems identified are the inadequacy of transportation facilities, lack of farming skills and the poor nature of soils in some areas of the division. The District Development Planning has been found to be less effective in effecting planning for agricultural development. Some of the causes of the weakness are the inadequacy of technical personnel, inadequacy of development funds and the weak organisational structure especially in relation to the locational and sub-Iocational development organisations. iv A resolution of all the above problems is necessary and would lead to increased agricultural production and overall development of the division. This study therefore recommends that the conditions of the roads in the division be improved and more extension services be availed to the farmers. For Rusinga and Mfangano islands where the soils are poor and cannot sustain increased agricultural production this study recommends the development of other income earning opportunities i.e. fishing and tourism. The study also makes the observation that whereas the District should remain as the basic unit for rural planning its effectiveness should be enhanced through stronger grassroots organisations and through the training and supply of more technical personnel and increased consideration for the supply of more funds for development.