Farmer factors for targeting in the certified maize seed market of Western and Coastal Kenya
Githinji, Pauline Bilha Wairimu
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Agricultural input organizations at best group farmers on the basis of geography and yet customers, the farmers, are the final arbiters on the financial performance of the organization. This research investigated multiple characteristics of farmers for farmer factors that may be used for targeting in the certified maize seed market of Western and Coastal Kenya. The latent class finite mixture method of cluster analysis was used to model a survey sample data of 313 observations and, therefore, to first define the farmer groups or segments in the study market and then investigate for those farmer factors that would be influential in targeting social or extension initiatives and marketing strategies to the farmers. The study found that the study market is dominated by smallholder farmers at 98%, and that the farmers may be grouped into two distinct farmer groups, the empowered smallholder farmer and the challenged smallholder farmer, with a proportion of 85% and 15% respectively. The empowered farmer has the desired positive agronomic practices but is socioeconomically challenged, while the challenged farmer has poor or negative agronomic practices and is socioeconomically adverse. Socioeconomic status and gender continued to be significant factors in the smallholder dominated market but negative or resistant agronomic practices were found to have the strongest associations. Consequently, farmers may be addressed as belonging to one of either profiles, and the empowered farmer profile may be the focus for marketing strategies design while the challenged farmer profile may be the focus for social initiatives design. Additionally, seed recycling resistant behavior should be a key factor and in the context of other factors as well.