Impact of agmark's program of strengthening agrodealers on sales of farm inputs in Kenya
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The Agricultural Sector Development Strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture in Kenya and the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) identified the pillar of access to farm inputs and output markets as key to agricultural development. In support of this Pillar, Agricultural Market Development Trust (AGMARK ) implemented an agrodealer strengthening program from 2004 to 2010. The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the AGMARK programme on sales of improved farm inputs to smallholders in Kenya. The study used mainly secondary data from monthly, Mid-term and Final Reports for the Project period. The study also used complementary primary data collected from consultative meetings with two senior technical officers of AGMARK and interview of agrodealers using sms (in full)) and email, and structured questionnaires administered on face to face basis. The data collected included number of trained farmers and agrodealers, volume of farm inputs and produce sales. Data were analyzed using SPSS programme to generate means, modes, variances and trends. The difference of means of volume of inputs produce sales before and after the project period was analyzed and compared statistically. Three thousand (3,000) agrodealers and twenty five (25) university student interns were placed in and exposed to farm inputs and output markets. Trained agrodealers increased sales of inputs by over 100% between 2004 and 2010. Agrodealers involved in marketing quality farm produce increased from 20% to 60% ..Currently, 85% of the trained smallholder farmers use improved farm inputs compared to 30% at the start of the Project. The study concluded that AGMARK positively impacted on the sale of improved farm inputs and consequently improved farm input market access, income levels among agro-dealers and increased productivity for farms using purchased inputs. The end result was a multiplier effect on improved livelihoods and food security in the project areas and Kenya at large.