n Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences - Access to and use of agricultural information by small scale women farmers in support of efforts to attain food security in Vihiga County, Kenya

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2141-7024
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Small scale women farmers in Vihiga County are subsistence farmers, who toil to grow maize, beans and traditional vegetables, for their family consumption. But due to the unpredictable weather patterns and inadequate information on modern farming practices, their farming efforts are not assisting towards achieving food security. This study investigated how women farmers in Vihiga County access and use information in their endeavours to attain food security. Specifically, the study sought to establish the farming activities of the small scale women farmers, ascertain their information needs and information seeking habits in enhancing food security, establish information sources, channels, and technologies used by women to access information; identify the challenges women farmers experience while seeking information, and suggest ways for improvement. The study utilized both qualitative and quantitative research approaches where data was collected using semi structured face-to-face interviews supplemented by document analysis. A sample of 150 women of age ranging from 15 - 70 years was interviewed. Data was analyzed qualitatively through descriptions and discussions, and presented through tables. Findings showed that food insecurity is a serious problem among the poor households especially among older women, larger households, members with low education levels, and the unemployed. It was established that women farmers constantly perceived information needs related to their daily activities of farming. The study findings show that these information needs are often not adequately satisfied by the existing information systems and services due to inadequate communication and information infrastructure, low literacy levels, lack of suitable information services, and lack of technical competencies. Based on the findings, the study recommends the improvement of the existing information services, systems, and channels of communication. This initiative is set to empower women farmers in ensuring food security and sustainability while promoting alternative income generating opportunities to make decisions that could have significant impact on poverty alleviation.

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