The Effects of Agro-Meteorological Information on Maize Enterprise Management among Smallholder Farmers
Understanding of agro-meteorological information and its utility is required for good performance of maize crop. However, farmers in Kenya do not pay much attention to agro-meteorological information to guide their farm decisions. This study investigated the awareness, access to and the effects of forecasted weather information on the maize enterprise management among smallholder farmers in Suna-East of Migori County, Kenya. A systematic random sampling procedure was employed to select 217 smallholder maize farmers. The units of analysis were farmers using agro-meteorological information in the management of maize farms, farmer enterprises and the extension staff. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, analysis of variance and multiple linear regression statistical model was used to analyze the influence of the variables on awareness, access and the use of forecasted weather information on the management of maize enterprises.
The results indicate that (63.4%) of the farmers were aware of agro-meteorological information, while only (43.7%) indicated to have access to the information either from friends, neighbors, mass media or agricultural extension agents. Correlation analysis conducted revealed that access to agro-meteorological information (r=0.149 at p≤0.013 and (r=0.074 at p≤0.142) had influence on maize enterprise selection and management respectively. The results of themultiple linear regression models showed that there is correlation coefficient p≤0.493 and an F value of 0.972 among the variables that influence the use of agro-meteorological information in maize enterprise selection. A correlation coefficient p≤0.045 and an F value of 3.458 among the variables that influence the use of agro-meteorological information in maize enterprise management. This shows that farmers who have access to agro-meteorological information do not use the information in maize enterprise selection but use the information in the management of maize enterprise.
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