The contribution of agricultural extension services to food security of smallholder households in Nandi county, Kenya
The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of agricultural extension service on household food security in Nandi County. The specific objectives of the study were to assess the household head demographic characteristics, establish the level of access to extension information by households and its effect on food security, determine the level of farmers’ accessibility to credit and its effect on household food security, find out the farmers’ level of adoption of inputs and practices recommended by the extension services and how it affects food security of smallholder households and to determine the food security situation of households in Nandi County. The study adopted a survey research design where the target population was 14,489 households in Tinderet District. The study used purposive sampling to select 2 locations from the 15 available in Tinderet. Purposive sampling was again used to select 4 sublocations from each of the sampled locations. Eight villages were then sampled from the sampled sub-locations and 15 households sampled randomly to bring the sample size to 120 households. The researcher sampled 12 key informants to provide indepth information on the effect of extension services on the food security in Nandi County. Data was collected using questionnaires and interview schedules. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics. The study established that the food security situation in the district was dire even though farmers harvested maize and beans. The study further established that farmers adopted inputs and practices recommended by the extension services such as improved seeds, timely preparation of land and planting and timely harvesting among others. However, respondents found difficulty in accessing credit. Finally, the study established that households accessed information through the radio broadcast and field demonstrations. The study recommended that the farmers should be encouraged to diversify and stop looking at maize as the only food crop but explore other foods crops such as bananas, potatoes among others; the government should lower the farm inputs through subsidies to encourage the farmers to use fertilizer in planting; the government should make it easy for the farmers to access credit through state enterprises like Agricultural Finance Corporation where the requirements such as demand for collateral will be relaxed for the farmers so that more and more farmers can access credit and; more extension officers need to be employed to reach more farmers and to do more follow-ups on farmers.