Role of participatory communication in poverty reduction among small scale farmers in Kenya: A case study of Irish potato farmers in Kuresoi North sub-county
This study sought to find out the role of participatory communication in poverty reduction among small scale Irish potato farmers in Kuresoi North Sub-County in Kenya. The objectives of the study were to establish knowledge levels of new farming methods among the farmers, how they access this knowledge, the challenges they face in accessing it, the most appropriate communication channels to them and the role of participatory communication in poverty reduction among these farmers. This study was guided by three theories: Social Cognitive Theory, Information Processing Stage Theory Model and Diffusion of Innovations Theory. An exploratory research design was used in this study. Non-probability sampling procedures were used in the study. Using convenient sampling, 6 groups each with 6 participants were chosen for focus group discussions which were guided by an interview guide while 8 key informants were purposively sampled and interviewed with the guide of interview schedules. In total, 44 participants were sampled in the study. The study found that lack of smooth flow of information from various stakeholders in the Agricultural sector to the farmers was responsible for poor yields hence poverty among small scale Irish potato farmers in Kuresoi North Sub-County. It also established that other factors such as poor infrastructure and lack of proper marketing strategies were major contributors of poverty among the farmers. This study gives several recommendations, the major ones being that more agricultural officers be employed and facilitated in the Sub-Counties to help dispense information. Secondly, that savings and credit co-operative societies be established to assist farmers in marketing of their produce. This study recommends that longitudinal studies be conducted to establish the extent to which participatory communication can reduce poverty. Secondly, further investigations should be done on how the use of word of mouth by peers and neighbors amongst small scale farmers can be incorporated into communication strategies aimed at improving information flow among small scale farmers.