An economic assessment of the contribution of agricultural information to farm productivity among small holder dairy farmes in Lari District
Dairy farming remains an important activity especially among smallholder farmers in central Kenya owing to the small land holding of approximatelyl.9 acres. It is a source of income and sustenance. Traditionally land, capital and labour have been considered as the necessary and , sufficient factors of production. However, information has recently been identified as a potential factor of production due to its unique characteristics, but its contribution to farm productivity is not well understood. This study sets to assess the contribution of agricultural information to farm productivity among smallholder dairy farmers in Lari district, a leading dairy producing district in Kiambu County, Kenya. The purpose of the study was to assess the contribution of information to dairy productivity. The objectives of the study were to characterize small holder dairy farmers in Lari district along their information endowment attributes and also assess the contribution of information to farm productivity among small holder dairy farmers in Lari district, Kiambu County. Information Index was calculated using Principal Component Analysis and the index used to categorize farmers into two groups along their information characteristics. The groups were not significantly different. A Cobb Douglas (CD) production function was estimated to assess the contribution of land, labour, capital and information to farm productivity among smallholder dairy farmers in Lari district. The results showed that land influenced productivity positively significant at the 5 percent level. Labour, capital and information also have positive significant influence on productivity at 1 percent level. Based on the above findings, the policy implications are that to improve and maintain high productivity in the dairy sub-sector in Lari district, the government of Kenya through the ministries of agriculture and cooperatives should formulate policies which would act as incentives to retain the dairy farmers in the enterprise. With time as the farmers accumulate information and hands on skills, they would improve milk output. Such incentives could include price premiums for quality of milk as well as supporting small holder dairy farmers to bulk their milk and take advantage of collective action.