Implications for Access and Non-Access of Agricultural Market Information in Tharaka Nithi County

Julia N. Ameru, Damaris Odero, Alice Kwake

Abstract


Agriculture is the mainstay of Kenyan economy. It accounts for 26% GDP and provides 18% and 42% formal and informal employment respectively. Tharaka Nithi has a population of about 400,000 persons, over 90% of whom rely on agriculture as a source of livelihood. Although surplus food production is common in the county, often farmers sell their produce at losses or lose it via post-harvest losses. Good output markets exist within the country but farmers lack sufficient knowledge to make use of them. This study aimed at establishing the importance of such information in addition to determining the challenges and opportunities for accessing the information in the County. The study sample included farmers and extension workers. Data was collected by use of semi-structured interview schedules and analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. The results show that farmers make losses due to lack of information. Unscrupulous middlemen confuse farmers with distorted market information causing them to make losses. Challenges facing access to information include poor physical/technological infrastructure among others. Opportunities for improving information access exist such as use of mobile telephony to communicate information to farmers. Despite these challenges, there are opportunities for increasing use of agricultural marketing information to improve farmers’ livelihood.


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