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Gender disparities in uptake of information on soil fertility management in the Central highlands of Kenya

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Low soil fertility is a fundamental constrain to crop production in the central highlands of Kenya. The aim of the study was to assess gender disparities in sourcing information and preference of extension methods used in dissemination of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) in the central highlands of Kenya from a comparative perspective. Data were collected from 240 respondents through the use of structured interview schedule and analysed using descriptive statistics, t-tests and bivalent correlation analysis. There were significant relationship ((χ 2 =27.43, df=9 P=0.001) between gender and sources of information on use of animal manure. Demonstration was scored more significantly (P=0.042) by male farmers than female farmers in training on the use of animal manure. There was a significant positive correlation (r=0.218, P<0.01) between number of non formal trainings attended and reliability of government extension agents on inorganic fertilizers. Resource constrain followed by lack of individual follow up by extension agents were scored as the most critical constraints in dissemination of soil fertility management practices. Extension agents should increase their interaction with both female and male farmers to enhance their participation in extension programmes which is envisaged to improve reliability of extension agents as a source of information on ISFM practices.
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GENDER DISPARITIES IN UPTAKE OF INFORMATION ON SOIL FERTILITY
MANAGEMENT IN THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS OF KENYA
KIMARU-MUCHAI S. W
1
, MUCHERU-MUNA M
2
, MUGWE J. N
3
, MAIRURA F. S
4
& MUGENDI
D. N
5
1
Department of Environmental Studies in Community Development, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
2
Department of Environmental Science, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
3
Department of Agricultural Resource Management, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya
4
Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility, Nairobi, Kenya
5
Embu University College, Embu, Kenya
ABSTRACT
Low soil fertility is a fundamental constrain to crop production in the central highlands of Kenya. The aim of the
study was to assess gender disparities in sourcing information and preference of extension methods used in dissemination
of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) in the central highlands of Kenya from a comparative perspective. Data
were collected from 240 respondents through the use of structured interview schedule and analysed using descriptive
statistics, t- tests and bivalent correlation analysis. There were significant relationship ((χ
2
=27.43, df=9 P=0.001) between
gender and sources of information on use of animal manure. Demonstration was scored more significantly (P=0.042) by
male farmers than female farmers in training on the use of animal manure. There was a significant positive correlation
(r=0.218, P<0.01) between number of non formal trainings attended and reliability of government extension agents on
inorganic fertilizers. Resource constrain followed by lack of individual follow up by extension agents were scored as the
most critical constraints in dissemination of soil fertility management practices. Extension agents should increase their
interaction with both female and male farmers to enhance their participation in extension programmes which is envisaged
to improve reliability of extension agents as a source of information on ISFM practices.
KEYWORDS
: Dissemination, Comparative, Farmers, Extension Agents
INTRODUCTION
Low soil fertility is a fundamental constrain to crop production in the central highlands of Kenya. Unfortunately,
adoption of improved recommendations still remains low while efforts to improve dissemination of research outputs on a
wider scale still remains a challenge ( Gündel et al. 2001). The key problem faced by governments and donors is how to
improve the interchange of information between the farmer, the researcher, and the extension agent (Commonwealth
secretariat, 2001). Inadequate links between researchers and farmers has resulted in a pitiful lack of take-up of research
advances in the field. To be successful, extension agents need to be aware of the information needs of both the male
farmers and the female farmers. Timely and relevant information on soil fertility management can fundamentally alter
people’s decision-making capacity and is critical to increasing agricultural productivity (Asres, 2005). Despite the
immense contribution of women to the household economy and given their critical role in determining and guaranteeing
food security, rural women often face difficulties than men in gaining access to agricultural information to increase their
production (Winrock, 2001). Women have also had less contact with extension services than men and generally use lower
levels of technology because of problems of access, cultural restrictions on use or lesser interest in doing research on
women’s fields (World Bank, 2000).
International Journal of Agricultural Science
and Research (IJASR)
ISSN 2250-0057
Vol. 3, Issue 1, Mar 2013, 197-206
©TJPRC Pvt Ltd.
198
Kimaru-Muchai S. W, Mucheru-Muna M, Mugwe J. N, Mairura F. S & Mugendi
D. N
The challenge therefore is to ensure that the extension system have a gender dimension and that the extension
agents are aware of the importance of equal participation of both men and women farmers in extension programmes. The
aim of the study was to address this rather broad issue from a comparative perspective and thereby assess gender disparities
in sourcing information and preference of extension methods used in dissemination of soil fertility management in the
central highlands of Kenya. The findings of this study will help in guiding policy makers and development planners who
are concerned about gender issue while designing agricultural projects within the region and elsewhere in the country.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
There were 6 villages sampled in both Maara and Mbeere South districts in the Central highlands of Kenya. The
choice of the study area was based on the fact that numerous research projects on soil fertility management practices had
been conducted in the region. Systematic random sampling technique was used to select 40 farmers from each village. In
all, two hundred and forty (240) respondents were selected for the research. The data were collected through personal
interviews with a pre-tested and validated interview schedule in May 2010. Before the survey was conducted, enumerators
were trained on how to collect data. Pre- testing of the questionnaires was carried out to ensure accurate and precise
collection of data.
RESULTS
Social Demographic Farm Characteristics
In Maara, male farmers composed of 85.8% of the sample, while in Mbeere South males and females comprised
of 58.3 % and 41.7% of the sample respectively. The mean age for female household heads was 49 years while the mean
age for male house hold heads was 47 Years. A higher (26.6%) percentage of male farmers had attained secondary
education as compared to female farmers (23.9%). More female farmers (73.3%) were members of farmer groups or local
association as compared to male farmers 61.8 % (Table 1).
Table 1: Distribution of Sample Respondents Based on their Personal Characteristics
District Male Female Total
Maara 103 (85.8) 17 (14.2) 120 (100)
Mbeere 70 (58.3) 50 (41.7) 120 (100)
Total 173 (72.1) 67 (27.9) 240 (100)
Age
15-30yrs 22 (12.7) 5 (7.5) 27 (11.3)
31-45 yrs 64 (37) 31 (46.3) 95 (39.6)
46-60 yrs 64 (37) 21 (31.3) 85 (35.4)
>61 yrs 23 (13.3) 10 (14.9) 33 (13.8)
Total 173 (100) 67 (100) 240 (100)
Level of Education
No education 9 (5.2) 4 (6) 13 (5.4)
Primary education 102 (59) 41 (61.2) 143 (59.6)
Secondary education 46 (26.6) 16 (23.9) 62 (25.8)
Tertiary education(specify) 16 (9.2) 6 (9) 22 (9.2)
Total 173 (100) 67 (100) 240 (100)
Years of experience
Less than 10 years 36 (20.8) 10 (14.9) 46 (19.2)
11-20yrs 62 (35.8) 19 (28.4) 81 (33.8)
Above20 years 75 (43.4) 38 (56.7) 113 (47.1)
Total 173 (100) 67 (100) 240 (100)
Gender Disparities in Uptake of Information on Soil Fertility Management in the Central Highlands of Kenya
199
Table 1: Contd.,
District Male
Female
Total
Social participation
Yes 107 (61.8) 49 (73.1) 156 (65)
No 66 (38.2) 18 (26.9) 84 (35)
Total 173 (100) 67 (100) 240 (100)
Numbers in Parenthesis Represent the Percentage of Respondents (N = 240)
Sources of Information Utilized by Farmers to Obtain Information on Animal Manure
There were significant relationship ((χ
2
=27.43, df=9 P=0.001) between gender and sources of information on
animal manure. The reveals that 13% of the female farmers did not use animal manure to improve their soil fertility (Table
2). About 25% of the male farmers obtained information from the government extension officers on the use of animal
manure while only 9% of the female farmers obtained information from the government extension officers. None (0%) of
the male farmers obtained information from researchers or agro input dealers. About 41% of the farmers used their own
experience on utilization of animal manure (Table 2). The implication of the results is that majority of the farmers obtained
information from other farmers or utilized their own experience to improve soil fertility on their farms using animal
manure.
Table 2: Comparison of Gender Respondents on Sources of Information on Use of Animal Manure
Source of Information on
Use of Animal Manure Male Female Total (N)
Does not practice 11 (6) 9 (13) 20 (8)
Government extension officer 44 (25) 6 (9) 50 (21)
NGO extension officer 1 (1) 1 (1) 2 (1)
Researchers 0 (0) 4 (6) 4 (2)
Agro input dealers 0 (0) 1 (1) 1 (0.4)
Radio/TV 1 (1) 1 (1) 2 (1)
Exhibitions 1 (1) 0 (0) 1 (0.4)
Other farmers 43 (25) 18 (27) 61 (25)
Your own experience 72 (42) 27 (40) 99 (41)
Total 173 (72.1) 67 (27.9) 240 (100)
Numbers in Parenthesis Represent the Percentage of Respondents
Farmers Attitude towards Extension Agents and Researchers
About 13.3% of the male farmers and 9% of the female farmers had visited research station (Table 3). Among the
male farmers who had visited research station, the highest proportion (25%) had favourable attitude towards researchers. A
higher proportion of the male farmers (97.1%) who had unfavourable attitude toward researchers had never visited research
station. Out of the 37 female farmers who had favourable attitude towards researchers only 13.5% had visited research
station.
In addition, none (0%) of the farmers with unfavourable attitude towards researchers had visited research station.
There was significant relationship between farmer’s attitude towards researchers and visit to research station (χ
2
=22.124,
df=2, P=0.001) among the male farmers (Table 3). This implies that farmers’ attitude towards researchers had an influence
on farmers’ visit to research station.
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Kimaru-Muchai S. W, Mucheru-Muna M, Mugwe J. N, Mairura F. S & Mugendi
D. N
Table 3: Relationship between Attitude towards Researchers and Visit to Research Station by Gender
Attitude
towards
Researchers
Visited Research Station
Male Female
Yes No Total Yes No Total
Favourable 21 (25) 63 (75) 84 (100)
5
(13.5) 32 (86.5) 37 (100)
Neutral 1 (1.8) 54 (98.2) 55 (100) 1 (4) 24 (96) 25 (100)
Unfavourable 1 (2.9) 33 (97.1) 34 (100) 0 (0) 5 (100) 5 (100)
Total 23 (13.3) 150 (86.7) 173 (100) 6 (9) 61 (91) 67 (100)
(χ
2
=22.124, df=2, P=0.001) (χ
2
=2.188, df=2, P=.335
Number in Parenthesis Represents Percentage of Respondents
There was a significant relationship between farmer’s attitude towards extension agents and visit by extension
agents (χ
2
=17.973, df=2, P=0.001) among the male farmers and (χ
2
=7.285, df=2, P=0.026) among the female farmers
(Table 4). More male farmers (59.6%) with favouable attitude towards extension agents had been visited by extension
agents as compared to the farmers with neutral and unfavourable attitude towards extension agents. Over 39%of the female
farmers who had favourable attitude towards extension agents had been visited by extension agents. None (0%) of the
female farmers with unfavourable attitude had been visited by an extension agent. More male farmers (44.2%) had been
visited by extension agents as compared to 26.9% female farmers (Table 4).The results implies that visit by extension
agents influenced the attitude of the farmer towards extension agent.
Table 4: Relationship between Attitude Towards Extension Agents And Visit By Extension Agent By Gender
Attitude towards
Extension
Agents
Visited by Extension Agent
Male Female
Yes No Total Yes No Total
Favourable 53 (59.6) 36 (40.4) 89 (100) 15 (39.5) 23 (60.5) 38 (100)
Neutral 20 (28.2) 51 (71.8) 71 (100) 3 (11.5) 23 (88.5) 26 (100)
Unfavourable 3 (27.3) 8 (72.7) 11 (100) 0 (0) 3 (100) 3 (100)
Total 76 (44.2) 96 (55.8) 172 (100) 18 (26.9) 49 (73.1) 67 (100)
(χ
2
=17.973, df=2, P=0.001) (χ
2
=7.285, df=2, P=0.026)
Number in Parenthesis Represents Percentage of Respondents
Participation of Farmers in Different Extension Programmes
Majority (94.8%) of the male farmers and 88.1% of the female farmers had not attended farmer field schools
(FFS). About 68.6% of the male farmers and 71.6% of the female farmers had not attended workshop/Seminar as an
extension programme in training on ISFM (Table5). A larger proportion of the male farmers (61.3%) and 49.3% of the
female farmers had attended demonstration. More female farmers (55.2%) had not attended field days as compared to
35.3% of the male farmers. There was significant relationship between gender and attendance of field days (χ
2
=14.184, df=
6, P=0.028) which implies that the attendance of field days was mainly by male farmers. About 5.2% of the male farmers
had attended field days for at least five times while only 1.5% of the female farmers had attended field days five times. In
addition, out of the 116 farmers who had not attended exhibition, majority (59.7%) of the farmers were females (Table5).
The result implies that there was more participation of the male farmers in extension programmes used to train on ISFM
than the female farmers.
Table 5 : Distribution of Respondents by Gender on Participation in Different Extension Programmes
Extension Programme Number of Times Attended
Workshop/seminar 0 1 2 3 4 5 >5
male 118 (68.6) 20 (11.6) 23 (13.4) 7 (4.1) 3 (1.7) 1 (0.6) 0 (0)
female 48 (71.6) 10 (14.9) 4 (6) 3 (4.5) 1 (1.5) 0 (0) 1 (1.5)
Total 166 (69.5) 30 (12.6) 27 (11.3) 10 (4.2) 4 (1.7) 1 (0.4) 1 (0.4)
Demonstration 0 1 2 3 4 5 >5
male 67 (38.7) 41 (23.7) 33 (19.1) 12 (6.9) 6 (3.5) 9 (5.2) 5 (2.9)
female 34 (50.7) 14 (20.9) 9 (13.4) 5 (7.5) 0 (0) 5 (7.5) 0 (0)
Total 101 (42.1) 55 (22.9) 42 (17.5) 17 (7.1) 6 (2.5) 14 (5.8) 5 (2.1)
Field days 0 1 2 3 4 5 >5
male 61 (35.3) 38 (22) 28 (16.2) 15 (8.7) 14 (8.1) 8 (4.6) 9 (5.2)
female 37 (55.2) 11 (16.4) 3 (4.5) 4 (6) 5 (7.5) 6 (9) 1 (1.5)
Total 98 (40.8) 49 (20.4) 31 (12.9) 19 (7.9) 19 (7.9) 14 (5.8) 10 (4.2)
Exhibitions 0 1 2 3 4 5 >5
male 76 (43.9) 50 (28.9) 41 (23.7) 5 (2.9) 0 1 (0.6) 0
female 40 (59.7) 15 (22.4) 11 (16.4) 1 (1.5) 0 0 (0) 0
Total 116 (48.3) 65 (27.1) 52 (21.7) 6 (2.5) 0 1 (0.4) 0
FFS 0 1 2 3 4 5 >5
male 164 (94.8) 2 (1.2) 2 (1.2) 2 (1.2) 0 (0) 3 (1.7) 0
female 59 (88.1) 3 (4.5) 0 (0) 1 (1.5) 2 (3) 2 (3) 0
Total 223 (92.9) 5 (2.1) 2 (0.8) 3 (1.3) 2 (0.8) 5 (2.1) 0
Number in Parenthesis Represents Percentage of Respondents
Extension Method Preferred in Training of Animal Manure
Farmers were requested to score the preference of various extension methods in training of animal manure using
the scores 1= not preferred, 2= least preferred, 3= fairly preferred, 4=Most preferred. Demonstration was the most scored
followed by farmer extension, workshops and field days, respectively. Demonstration was scored more significantly
(P=0.042) by male farmers than female farmers. Workshop/seminars was highly scored by female farmers (P=0.007) than
the female farmers while farmer field schools were equally scored by both the male and female farmers. Male farmers had
significantly (P=0.001) scored field days more highly than female farmers. Use of teaching aids as an extension method
was the least scored overall but it was lowly scored by the female farmers as compared to the male farmers (Table6).
Table 6: Comparison of Extension Method Preferred in Training on Animal Manure by Gender
Extension Method Male Female t Sig. (2-tailed)
Demonstrations 3.2 ±1.1 2.9± (1.3 2.057 0.042
Farmer to farmer extension 2.9 ±1 2.9 ±1.1 0.003 0.998
Workshops/seminars 2.2 ±1 2.6 ±1.1 -2.743 0.007
Field days 2.2 ±1 1.8 ±1 3.260 0.001
Farmer field school 1.8 ±1 1.8 ±1 0.488 0.627
Exchange visits 2.1 ± 0.9 1.8 ±0.9 1.857 0.066
Use of teaching aids 2.2 ± 1 1.6 ±0.6 4.929 0.000
Values Arranged as Means and Standard Deviation
Constraints That Hinder Successful Dissemination of ISFM
The rank orders of the constraints were identified through using score values of the constraints as 1= not critical,
2= least critical 3-= moderately critical and 4= most critical. The constraint that got the highest score value was taken as
the most critical constrain that hinder the dissemination of ISFM practices. Resource constrain was perceived as the most
critical constraint by both the female and male farmers followed by lack of individual follow up by the extension agents
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and poor attitude towards extension agents respectively. However, resource constrain was perceived as more critical by the
male farmers than female farmers at 0.003 probability level (Table 7). The perception that ISFM practices were not
practical oriented was considered as significantly more critical by male farmers than by female farmers at 0.037 probability
level. No individual follow up by farmers was scored significantly (P=0.036) more by the male farmers than among the
female farmers possibly because male farmers preferred individual approach than the female farmers. There was a
significant difference (P=0.017) in the scoring of poor attitude towards extension agent as a constraint in dissemination as
it was scored more critical by the male farmers than among the female farmers (Table 7).
Table 7: Constraints that Hinder Dissemination of ISFM Information as Perceived by Farmers
Constraints Male Female t Sig. (2-tailed)
Not Practical Oriented 2.4 ±1.1 2.1 ±1 2.110 0.037
Repetition of the information 2.5 ±0.9 2.7 ±0.9 -1.736 0.085
Inadequate literature materials 2.4 ±0.9 2 ±0.9 3.040 0.003
Information is not related to their problems 2.6 ±1 2.4 ±1.2 1.274 0.205
No individual follow up by extension workers 3 ±1 2.7 ±1 2.121 0.036
Lack of discussion groups for farmers 2.7 ±1 2.5 ±1 1.078 0.283
Low literacy among farmers 2.7 ±1.1 2.4 ±0.9 1.780 0.077
Poor attitude towards extension workers 2.8 ±1 2.4 ±1.2 2.432 0.017
Resource constraints 3.3 ±0.9 2.8 ±1.1 3.028 0.003
Very sophisticated terms are used during trainings 2.7 ±1.3 2.4 ±1.1 1.523 0.130
Values Arranged as Means and Standard Deviation
Characteristics of Good Communicators
In scoring characteristics of good communicators, the person who listens to farmers needs and responds was the
most scored, followed by the person who encourages farmers’ participation and the person who demonstrates. The person
who uses simple terms to express his views and the person who encourages farmers’ participation were scored as more
important by the male farmers than the female farmers at 0.05 probability level (Table 8). The person who gives real life
example and the person who is motivating were equally scored by both the male and the female farmers. The characteristic
of a person who use teaching aids was scored as the least important overall but was scored more by the male farmers than
female farmers at 0.01 probability level.
Table 8: Characteristics of Good Communicators as Perceived by Farmers
Characteristics of Good Communicators Male (N=173) Female (N=67) t P
Person who listens to farmers needs and responds 3.7 ±0.6 3.7 ±0.5 -0.602 0.548
Person who demonstrates 3.5 ±0.7 3.5 ±0.7 0.154 0.878
The person who is motivating 3.5 ±0.6 3.5 ±0.6 -0.133 0.894
Person who encourages farmers' participation 3.6 ±0.6 3.4 ±0.6 2.204 0.03
Person who gives real life example 3.3 ±0.8 3.3 ±0.8 0.147 0.884
A jovial person 3.2 ±0.8 3.2 ±0.8 0.001 0.999
The person who uses simple terms to express his views 3.5 ±0.6 3.2 ±0.7 2.731 0.007
Person who uses locally available resources to train 3.3 ±0.7 3.2 ±0.7 1.477 0.142
Person who uses teaching aids 2.9 ±0.9 2.7 ±0.7 2.615 0.01
Gender Disparities in Uptake of Information on Soil Fertility Management in the Central Highlands of Kenya
203
Relationship between Social Economic Factors and Reliability of Government Extension Agents as a Source of
ISFM Information
A Pearson test was done between the continuous independent variables and the dependent variables while
Kendal’s tau b test was done between the discrete independent variables and dependent variables to test on their
correlation. There was a significant negative correlation (r=-0.190, P<0.01) between gender and reliability of government
extension agents on inorganic fertilizers but a significant positive correlation (r=0.218, P<0.01) between number of non
formal trainings attended and reliability of government extension agents on inorganic fertilizers (Table 9). There was a
significant positive correlation between number of times visited by agricultural officers, number of the groups a farmer
belonged and reliability of government extension agents on combined inorganic and inorganic fertilizers (P<0.01) but a
significant negative correlation (r=-0.115, P<0.01) between gender and reliability of government extension agents on
combined inorganic and inorganic fertilizers (Table 9).There was no significant correlation between age, education level,
years of farming experience and reliability of government extension agents on ISFM practices.
Table 9: Factors That Influence Reliability of Government Extension Agents as a Source of ISFM
Information
Socio-Economic
Characteristics
Reliability of Government Extension Agents as a Source of ISFM Information
Green
Manure
Inorganic
Fertilizers
Combined
Inorganic and
Organic Fertilizers
Erosion Control
Measures
Animal
Manure
Gender(1=Male, 2=female) -0.030 -0.190** -0.164** -0.120* -0.185**
Age 0.018 0.024 0.067 -0.016 0.074
Educational level 0.017 0.027 0.062 0.051 0.023
Years of farming experience -0.075 -0.056 -0.014 -0.005 0.006
Non formal trainings 0.062 0.218** 0.190** 0.080 0.205**
Number of the groups -0.054 0.049 0.127* 0.047 0.145**
Total farm size -0.063 -0.106* -0.069 -0.012 -0.034
Number of times visited by
agricultural officers 0.139* 0.242** 0.240** 0.091 0.286**
*Correlation is Significant at the 0.05 Level (2-tailed)**Correlation is Significant at the 0.01level (2-Tailed)
DISCUSSIONS
Majority of the farmers utilized their own experience while other farmers and government extension officers were
also major sources of information for the farmers who used animal manure to improve soil fertility on their farms. The
results support the findings of Fekandu (1997) that though knowledge is produced through agricultural research, it is not
the only avenue for knowledge generation. Learning from experience, interaction and farmers’ experimentation are other
sources. Nevertheless, more male farmers significantly obtained information on animal manure from government extension
officers than female farmers. Other studies by Mahapatra (1987), explains that, in India, women learned of extension
messages through indirect channels of communication such as husbands, neighbors and other villagers. This finding agree
with the findings of Saito and Weidemann, (1990) who found out that for most women farmers in Burkina Faso, relatives
and friends were the source of information. On the other hand, Dagnachew (2002), states that extension efforts and
technological packages usually address men farmers and hence extension agents are most likely to visit male farmers than
female farmers.
Farmers’ attitude towards extension agent or researchers is expected to influence the relationship with respect to
agent as a source of information. Majority of both the male and the female farmers had favourable attitude towards
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D. N
extension workers and researchers. The results do not agree with Boone (1989), who found widespread resentment towards
extension agents among farmers because they resent advice from agents who adopt superior attitudes. However, visit to
research station or visit by an extension agent positively influenced the attitude of the farmer towards the agents. Hence
female farmers were the most affected as majority had not visited research station nor had majority been visited by
extension agents.
Participation in extension programmes enables farmers to identify their farm problems and to set sound solutions
for further measure. Evidence from the results suggests that women had not participated as much as men in extension
programmes meant to disseminate information on ISFM. The least attended activity by both male and female farmers was
farmer field school while the most attended activity was field days but significantly attended more by men. The possible
reason is because rural women have less available time and mobility due to their dual domestic and agricultural roles.
However, Saito and Spurling, (1992) explains that some extension programs do not take special consideration of the needs
of women in agriculture. For example, public discussion meeting are often held at times convenient to men but when
women are unable to attend.
Many constrains on dissemination of ISFM practices are common to both men and women. However, resources
constrain and lack individual follow up by extension agents was perceived as more critical by the male farmers than female
farmers. The findings agrees with Kamau et al. (2002) who noted that financial constraints at community level are a cross-
cutting issue in up-scaling adoption of agricultural technologies. Lack of individual follow up by extension agents was
perceived as more critical by the male farmers probably because of their high preference of individual interaction approach
as shown by the results. Male farmers scored print media as a more available source of information than female farmers,
hence inadequate literature material had been perceived as significantly more critical by the male farmers than the female
farmers. Personal Communication skills have a direct effect on the responsiveness of the information by the farmer.
Farmers prefer a person who listens and responds to their needs and the person who encourages their participation. The
approach need to be farmer friendly with more incorporation of the farmers’ ideas and their active participation.
There was significant negative correlation between gender and reliability of government extension agents on
inorganic fertilizers, animal manure, combined organic and inorganic fertilizers and soil erosion control measures
information. The implication is that male farmers relied more on government extension agents more than the female
farmers. This could be attributed to the fact that in most rural communities, men have more freedom to move about to get
information (Adeogun et al, 2010) and this may likely affect their reliability of government extension agents as source of
information. Number of non formal trainings attended by the farmer, number of groups a farmer belonged and number of
times a farmer had been visited by extension agents positively influenced reliability of government extension agents on
combined organic and inorganic fertilizers and animal manure information.
CONCLUSIONS
Male and female farmers need relevant and timely information to improve soil fertility and increase their farm
income. As this study indicates, extension agents and researchers should accommodate women as different clientele
because women have divergent roles, interests and learning preferences from men. Public agricultural meetings should be
held at convenient times when both men and women are in a position to attend but not during the peak labour periods like
planting or weeding when women are busy on the farm. To a great extent, a combination of extension teaching methods
should be adopted when planning extension programmes to cater for gender preferences in uptake of information on
different soil fertility technologies.
Gender Disparities in Uptake of Information on Soil Fertility Management in the Central Highlands of Kenya
205
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East
and Central Africa (ASARECA NRM-09-01)) in the project on Accelerated Uptake and Utilization of Soil Fertility
Management Best-Bet Practices in Eastern and Central African sub-region. Special thanks are also due to the staff of
Kamurugu Agricultural Development Initiative (KADI) and of the Ministry of Agriculture in Maara and Mbeere South for
their cooperation during data collection. The interviewed farmers are also appreciated for participating in the study.
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Women are responsible for at least 70 percent of food staple production in Africa. They are also important in other agricultural activities, including food processing and marketing, cash cropping and animal husbandry. Women's involvement is significant not only in terms of their labor input, but also in terms of their decision-making authority. This paper proposes a series of operational guidelines on how to provide agricultural extension services in a cost-effective way to women farmers. All small-scale farmers, regardless of gender, face constraints, but the focus here is on women farmers in order to foster a better understanding of the particular gender-related barriers confronting women and the strategies needed to overcome them. Attention is concentrated on sub-Saharan Africa in view of the crucial role of women in agriculture throughout the sub-continent. This paper addresses the question of why women need help -- the role women have in agriculture and the particular constraints they face in terms of access to resources and information. It examines the information needed to modify extension systems to better reach women farmers, to modify the focus of research to address women's activities and to monitor and evaluate programs. The paper also deals with the transmission of the extension message to women farmers and the formulation of the message to be delivered, and the linkage between extension and agricultural research and technology.
Advancing Gender Equality: Action Since Beijing
World bank (2000). Advancing Gender Equality: Action Since Beijing. Washington, DC:World Bank.
Dissemination pathways for renewable natural resources [RNR] research. Socio-economic Methodologies for Natural Resources Research. Best Practice Guidelines (BPG 1)
  • C Garforth
Garforth, C. (1998). Dissemination pathways for renewable natural resources [RNR] research. Socio-economic Methodologies for Natural Resources Research. Best Practice Guidelines (BPG 1). Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Chatham, UK
Role of Women in Agricultural Extension Program, India: A Review
  • K Mahapatra
Mahapatra, K. 1987, "Role of Women in Agricultural Extension Program, India: A Review" quoted in Axinn 1990.
Foundations and Changing Practices in Extension
  • E J Boone
Boone, E. J. (1989). "Foundations and Changing Practices in Extension", (pp1-9) in D. J. Blackburn (ed.), Philosophical Foundations of Extension. Ontario: Guelph Publishers
Appropriate Technologies Developed/Adopted and Disseminated to Women: A Study in sample PAs in the Amhara National Regional State and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
  • Ethiopia Winrock International
Winrock International Ethiopia, 2001. " Appropriate Technologies Developed/Adopted and Disseminated to Women: A Study in sample PAs in the Amhara National Regional State and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples'
Integration of Farmers' Knowledge into Agricultural Research: Challenges and Strategies: the case of Ada'a District
  • B Fekadu
Fekadu, B. (1997). Integration of Farmers' Knowledge into Agricultural Research: Challenges and Strategies: the case of Ada'a District, Central Oromia (Ethiopia), Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands.
Scaling-up strategies for research in natural resources management: a comparative review
  • S Gündel
  • J Hancock
  • S Anderson
Gündel, S., Hancock, J. and Anderson, S. (2001). Scaling-up strategies for research in natural resources management: a comparative review. Natural Resources Institute (NRI), Chatham, UK. 61p