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This report presents results of a baseline study on the constraints and opportunities of maize production in the Western Region of Kenya. The aim of the study was to provide baseline information that would set the basis for measuring progress and impact of the project on the livelihoods of the target population. Its objective was to determine the current status of livelihoods within the project areas by looking at various indicators of livelihoods such as household demographics; access to land, input use, and crop production; decision-making process in farming; Striga and Striga control technologies; vulnerability; capital assets; and livelihood strategies and outcomes, and explore opportunities and constraints affecting maize production in the project areas. One thousand two hundred (1200) households randomly selected from 12 districts were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data from the study was analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regression.
The study found out that high proportions of households are male-headed households with the proportion of female-headed households in Nyanza being higher than in the Western region. The average age of household head was 49 years with average formal schooling of eight years and household size of six. About 60% of household heads work full-time on the farm. Household land holdings are small and mostly used for the production of annual crops especially maize. Household members over 60 years of age are the ones working mostly full time on the farm. More women than men belong to and participate in the leadership of social groups. In addition most household members belong to women groups, development committees, and credit and savings groups.
The main source of funding for farming aspects among the households is proceeds from sale of farm produce which include maize. All key farming related decisions in the households are made by both the household head and the spouse except the decision on the acreage of land to plant. Input use levels are low and vary inter-province.
Striga is ranked as the number one production constraint in maize production and is severe among 50% of households sampled. In terms of severity, Striga currently claims over 40% of the households’ maize crop. Over 80% of the households use the uprooting method to control Striga in their farms. About 50% of the households use organic and inorganic fertilizers. The use of control technologies like Imazapyr-resistant (IR) maize is less than 5% among farmers. The main reasons for non-adoption of Striga control measures among the households is inadequate information on the technologies and their high costs. The model on determinants of maize production showed that the level of usage of organic fertilizer influences maize production level.