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Title: Analysis of quality control in the informal seed sector. Case of smallholder bean farmers in Bondo Sub-county, Kenya
Authors: Ouko, Wilfred Odhiambo
Keywords: Quality control -- Informal seed sector
Issue Date: Nov-2016
Publisher: Egerton University
Abstract: The contribution of common bean to nutrition and income has not been fully felt by smallholder farmers in western Kenya due to low yields. Good quality seed, if used with complementary practices can increase bean productivity. This study was conducted in Bondo sub-County to determine the methods used by farmers in seed quality control; factors affecting the choice preferences for informal bean seed sources; the structure and contribution of social networks in seed quality control. Primary data were collected from 100 respondents through scheduled interviews using structured questionnaires. STATA and UCINET computer packages were used to run data. A multinomial logit model was used to analyse the effects of socio-economic characteristics on the choice of seed sources. The nature of social networks was determined using measures of centrality and brokerage and visualized through network graphs. The results showed that smallholder bean farming was male dominated (57%) with average of 1.19 ha landholding and 0.34 ha under beans. Majority (90%) of farmers assessed quality characteristics while sourcing seed, with 46% considering seed free from insect attack as being of good quality. Majority (84%) of farmers never treated seed at planting, but practiced weeding (84%), timely harvesting (87%), cleaning (90%) and proper storage (92%) for quality control. The study revealed that farmer-to-farmer social networks exhibited the highest degree (48), betweenness (2690) and lowest closeness (169) centrality measures. Majority (97%) of farmers relied on informal sources for seed. The preferences for the informal seed sources are influenced by age, family size, area under beans, distance to nearest seed source, nature of land ownership, occupation and group membership; all of which were statistically significant at 0.05 levels. Therefore, the study suggests policy interventions to design locally-based bean seed system which utilizes farmer-to-farmer social networks to enhance supply of quality seed to smallholder farmers. Preference for certain bean varieties should be used for strategic varietal development. Finally, youth groups should be used as springboards for seed related interventions.
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Education and Community Studies

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