Factors Influencing Production Of Staple Foods For Sustainable Food Security: A Case Of Ruguru Division, Mathira West District, Kenya
Food security remains an elusive goal in many parts of the world despite the global commitment to provide adequate, affordable and nutritious food. The first Millennium Development Goals is to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty around the world. Meeting food security goal has been a major challenge because of the inability of agricultural production to meet the global food demands. Food crop production is not increasing at the required rate in order to meet the population growth. Food security remains a major issue globally and regionally. Food, nutritional insecurity and poverty are wide spread in the world and are major hindrances to development. The objectives of the study were to find out how socio economic factors, agricultural management practices, proper use of inputs and training and extension influence production of staple foods in Ruguru Division Mathira West District. A descriptive survey design was used to enable the researcher reach a bigger proportion of the population as well as studying various variables. A target population of 6,650 small scale staple food producers was used. Proportional sampling techniques were used to get data from sampling frame. Representative sample sizes of 200 were picked from the target population. In addition six Agricultural Officers working with Ministry of Agriculture in the District were selected as well as two input sellers. Data was collected using self–administered questionnaires, interview guide and observation methods. The collected data was analyzed using Statistical package for Social Sciences software. The results of the study were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics and the results were presented using tables. The research findings showed that 58.6 % of the respondents were women. The study findings revealed that 52.5 % of the study respondents land was self-owned although majority (26.3%)had less than 1 acre. The study findings showed that 72.2 % of the respondents had farming as their main source of income. The research findings further revealed 43.4 % of the respondents had primary education as their highest level of education. The study findings revealed that majority (85.9%) used fertilizer while 88.4 % used manure .The study findings also showed the 92.4% of the study respondents indicated that the cost of inputs was very expensive .The study findings revealed that 71.7 % of the respondents had been trained. The study findings and recommendations will help the Government to implement policies which can help in the revitalization of staple foods production in order to improve food security both at national and house hold levels. Despite the low education qualifications of the farmers producing staple foods , the study observed that the type of training offered to farmers , had a positive influence to the production of staple foods . Scarcity of accessible land by the small scale farmers was a major hindrance to effective food production and agricultural management practices like crop rotation, pest and disease management, farm planning and conservation agriculture. It is therefore concluded that capacity building is key to the production of staple food as long as the appropriate training is duly offered and with consistent back up. It can therefore be concluded that any small scale farmer of any education level as long as their capacity for production is enhanced through training can effectively and efficiently contribute in production of food. Farmer field days and group methods including demonstrations should continue to be promoted as vehicles of information dissemination and communication.