Universal Journal of Agricultural Research Vol. 5(5), pp. 257 - 266
DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050502
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Socio-economic Characteristics of Smallholder Potato Farmers in Mauche Ward of Nakuru County, Kenya


Rael Jepkemei Taiy 1,*, Christopher Onyango 2, Agnes Nkurumwa 2, Kibet Ngetich 3
1 Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya
2 Department of Agricultural Education and Extension, Egerton University, Kenya
3 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Egerton University, Kenya

ABSTRACT

Understanding the socio-economic characteristics of smallholder farmers is important as it provides the basis for addressing the myriad challenges that the farmers face. This study therefore was carried out to determine the socio-economic characteristics of smallholder potato farmers in Mauche Ward of Njoro Sub-County, Kenya. Simple Random sampling was used to select 150 smallholder potato farmers to participate in the household survey. A structured questionnaire was used to collect socio-economic data from the respondents. Data analysis was done using SPSS and results presented descriptively using frequencies, percentages, bar charts, means and standard deviation. The results indicate that most farmers have low education, mainly primary and secondary education and majority are relatively old. Though a high proportion of the farmers are married, cases of single farmers are common. Potato is a key crop but livestock keeping, particularly cattle and chicken are kept by almost all households. The study also revealed that smallholder farmers earn low income if they depend on on-farm activities alone. Potato farmers in Mauche have limited access to clean potato seed as many of them rely on seed purchased in open air markets and from other farmers. The major constraints to potato marketing are lack of collective action and low prices dictated by middlemen which translate to low farm incomes. Smallholder potato farmers need to increase their income by enhancing productivity through improved crop and land management practices. Engaging in profit oriented off-farm activities such as value addition may also enhance farmers' earnings. There is a need to capacity built farmers on clean potato seed production to ensure timely access to good quality seed at a more affordable price. Farmers need to form cooperative societies to enable them do collective marketing of their farm produce and purchase of farm inputs in order to benefit from the economies of scale.

KEYWORDS
Household, Incomes, Potato, Smallholder, Socio-economics

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Rael Jepkemei Taiy , Christopher Onyango , Agnes Nkurumwa , Kibet Ngetich , "Socio-economic Characteristics of Smallholder Potato Farmers in Mauche Ward of Nakuru County, Kenya," Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol. 5, No. 5, pp. 257 - 266, 2017. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050502.

(b). APA Format:
Rael Jepkemei Taiy , Christopher Onyango , Agnes Nkurumwa , Kibet Ngetich (2017). Socio-economic Characteristics of Smallholder Potato Farmers in Mauche Ward of Nakuru County, Kenya. Universal Journal of Agricultural Research, 5(5), 257 - 266. DOI: 10.13189/ujar.2017.050502.