Factors affecting maize production among registered small scale farmers in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya
The agricultural dynamics are changing. Today, food security is a top priority among under-developed and developing countries, especially and particularly in Africa and Sub-Sahara region. The fight against hunger is a topic that has been in line of discussion since time immemorial. Early scholars like Malthus and Smith tried to explain the relationship among food security, food production and the involved production factors, in their ‘Malthusian Theory’ and ‘Theory of Production,’ but still no substantive solution is feasible to date. Studies by various scholars and entities including FAO shows that among the various agricultural products entrusted with the fight against hunger, maize production has the largest share segment and contributes to 30% of world’s food calories. In Kenya, maize production accounts to 65% of 18% formal employment, and it is the stable food year round. Despite of such utility precedence, maize production among these maize-dependent countries, Kenya included, remains to be low and the respective economies dependent on maize importation. This clearly undermines their inherent food security strategies, calling for holistic evaluations on the maize production situation. Among the key areas upon which the evaluation is highly and likely to be based on is the maize production factors. In Kenya, these factors are critical to maize production and require attention. This study therefore sought to undertake on this evaluation, narrowing the focus down to registered small-scale maize farmer in Trans-Nzoia County. Guided by the general objective of establishing the production and institutional factor that affect maize production, a survey was carried out in the five sub-counties of Trans-Nzoia County. The study equally intended to establish the effect that the factors have on the number of maize bags produced. Using stratified sample size of 196 respondents, the study used self-administered questionnaire to collect data. Data was collected from 195 respondents and analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics and findings presented accordingly. From analysis, it was established that land size, use of machinery in ploughing and use of chemicals had a positive influence on maize production. Land size was the most significant of factors. Extension services was also found to influence maize production but with a negative coefficient. Seed application and fertilizer application were found to have no influence on maize production. The study successfully obtained its objective. However, limitation on the pool of factors was identified as other insightful factors were missing. The ecological and climatic conditions were also found to limit the relevancy of the study to other regions due to disparity on maize production potential. The study therefore suggest for a further study that will seek to harmonise these limitations.