Adoption of improved maize production practices among small scale farmers is essential for increased maize production and consequently food security, poverty alleviation and growth in Kenya’s economy. This is because small scale farmers contribute to 70% of the maize produced in the country. The ability and willingness of these farmers to adopt improved production practices may have been affected by the introduction of agricultural reforms which stemmed from Structural Adjustment Programmes resulting in cut backs in government expenditure. This placed a greater economic burden on the small scale farmers. The purpose of this study therefore, was to determine the relationship between adoption of improved maize production practices and maize yield among small scale farmers in Western Province in the agricultural reform era. Two hundred small scale farmers were selected through systematic sampling from Lugari, Bungoma, Mt. Elgon and Busia districts which were purposively selected. The respondents were interviewed with the help of interview schedule containing open and closed ended questions. Data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics with the help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). The results revealed that there was a statistically significant relationship between adoption of improved maize production practices and maize yield. The study recommended therefore that for food security to be realised in Western Province in the agricultural reform era, efforts should be made to improve adoption of improved maize production practices.
Key Words: Maize, production, Agricultural reform, small scale farmers, Kenya, Adoption
We are grateful to Egerton University, which gave us the opportunity to carry out this study and partially sponsored it. Our sincere thanks go to the farmers and extension staff in Western Province for their cooperation. We are greatly indebted to the former Provincial Director of Agriculture and Livestock Extension (The late Mr. Wycliffe Omutsani) and the Provincial crops officer (Mr. James Maling’a) for their assistance during data collection.