Factors influencing marketability of maize produce among smallholder farmers’ in soy sub-county Uasin Gishu- Kenya
According to the study conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) entitled, “Smallholder integration in changing food markets” pointed out that smallholder producer face widely different sets of issues and constraints to market participation. Therefore, in this regards, the purpose of this study was to investigate the factors affecting the marketability of the maize commodity produced by the Smallholder farmers (SHFSs) in Soy Sub County of Uasin Gishu, Kenya. The general objective of this study was to assess the factors affecting the marketability of maize products among Smallholder farmer in Uasin Gishu. The specific objectives sought to find out the perception of smallholder farmers towards the market for their maize products, identify the opportunities for smallholder farmers in Uasin Gishu County to reach different buyers, determine the challenges faced by SHFSs in marketing their maize in Uasin Gishu County and establish ways to curb these challenges faced by SHFSs while marketing their products. The research design which was used is a descriptive as well as inferential survey, where data was collected from identified respondents and a few purposely identified as key informants with vital information that helped put things into perspective. The researcher preferred this design because the information to be sought was descriptive in nature whereby the researcher had no control of what had happened, rather can describe the situation the way it is. Because of the vast geographical area of the county, SHFSs in Soy sub-county were targeted. Specifically, the researcher targeted members in community based organizations called Sirikwa. Sirikwa multipurpose farmer organization members were approached. According to their database, they have 4000 registered members. The descriptive statistics was used to summarize quantitative data. The researcher used tables, frequency distribution and percentages. The study therefore recommends that there is a need for developing a comprehensive policy to serve SHFS, reduce the input costs, stabilize the maize prices especially from the farm level, find a mechanism of eliminating the middlemen by linking farmers to manufactures like millers and provide support services to farms to increase productivity. Similarly, SHFS also need to learn to use of improved maize varieties, use of proper fertilizer, use of credit – provides resources for acquisition of inputs, cultivate maize in a high potential areas (high rainfall areas) in order to improve the quality of their products and increase their level of education (management ability).