An Assessment of Factors Influencing Production of Hydroponics Fodder Among Smallholder Dairy Farmers in Kiambu Sub County, Kenya
Rapid urbanisation in Kiambu sub-county has led to subdivision of land into plots for real estate’s construction. This has resulted to reduction of land for fodder production. Most smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu sub-county feed their dairy cattle on napier grass and crop remains e.g. maize stovers, bean stalks, and banana leaves which are all poor quality feeds. Sustainable fodder production technologies could be used as an alternative for producing fodder all the year round. Hydroponics fodder production is one of such technologies. The objectives of the study were to; examine demographic factors that influence the production of hydroponics fodder production among smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu sub-county, establish the influence of management practices on the production of hydroponics fodder by the smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu Sub-county, assess how marketing factors influence the production of hydroponics fodder by the smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu sub-county, assess the role of extension service on the production of hydroponics fodder by the smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu sub-county and establish how access to credit influence the production of hydroponics fodder by the smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu sub-county. Descriptive survey design was used in this study. Stratified and random sampling techniques were used to select a sample size of 204 respondents and the primary data was collected using questionnaires and interview schedules. Validity of the instrument was established by a panel of experts. Reliability was tested using the Cronbach’s alpha which was calculated from questionnaires from a pilot study which was conducted in Githunguri sub-county. The questionnaire had an alpha of 0.78 which was greater than 0.7 and was considered acceptable. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used for data analysis. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyse data. Binary probit model was used in the study. The results of the study showed that majority (63%) of the farmers were males. Most (58%) of the respondents were aged between 18-45 years. Majority (58%) of the respondents had a land size of 2 acres and below. Majority (67%) of the respondents do not grow enough feeds for their dairy cows. It was only 4% of the farmers who grew hydroponics fodder and 80% of the farmers used barley as planting material. Most (51%) of the respondents do not grow hydroponics fodder because they lack the skills on hydroponics fodder production. Majority (96%) of the farmers had access to market. The results further show that majority (65%) of the farmers get information on dairy farming through radio. Most (50%) of the farmers had accessed a loan. The results of the study showed that the farmers’ number of dependants and access to information through seminars and internet were the factors influencing hydroponics fodder production among the smallholder dairy farmers in Kiambu Sub-county. It is recommended that in order to support the adoption of hydroponics fodder production, farmers’ awareness on hydroponics fodder production should be increased and the Government should provide grants, subsidy or low interest credit facilities to dairy farmers who are interested in hydroponics fodder production. Finally, the cost of hydroponics system can be reduced by using locally available construction materials. The findings of the study will benefit staff of the Ministry of Agriculture, livestock and Fisheries Development, NGO’s, farmers and other stakeholders.
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