Review Workshop District Farming Systems Team Machakos 29 June - 1 July 1999

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Ndegwa, N.
Kooijman, M.
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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Several organisations are involved in research and development activities in Machakos district. In an effort to identify farmers' production constraints, these organisations have conducted several PRAs and other surveys in the district. The information generated through the diagnostic studies has been used to formulate interventions by each institution to address the identified farmers' problems. However, these efforts have largely been duplicated by the various actors and hence the resources allocated to them have not been properly and effectively used for the benefit of farmers. The information they collect and results of their activities are rarely made known or shared with the other actors. This situation could be attributed to weak linkages and lack of proper co-ordination and co-operation among the actors. True development means improvement of the quality of life of the majority of the people but despite the efforts by the change agents, poverty continues to overwhelm the farming community. The farmers experience frequent food shortages so they have to depend on relief supplies by the govemment. Demand for food has increased but the adoption of appropriate technologies that could increase agriculture production in the district has remained low. Technology transfer agents (NGOs and the extension service) have a key role to play in the dissemination of relevant technologies to farmers. The government extension services are seriously constrained by many factors while NGOs are well endowed with resources but linkages and collaboration between them remain weak or non-existent. Efforts must be made to strengthen and improve linkages between the technology transfer agents, research and farmers so as to ensure high adoption of technologies and to realise increased agricultural production.