KARI ICRA - A Participatory Study of Farmer Constraints Opportunities and Research Needs in the Hilly Masses of Eastern Kenya 1996

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
An interdisciplinary team of six agricultural scientists conducted a three month participatory appraisal of the hilly masses of the five districts of Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Mwingi and Kajiado within the mandate area of the National Dryland Farming Research Centre - Katumani, Kenya. During a recent reorientation of the centre's region I research program I e, it was realized that although a large proportion of the mandate areas population were dependent on agricultural activities in the hilly masses, these areas had not b n previously addressed by research. This report describes the livelihood systems, production constraints and opportunities of the farmers in the hilly masses of Kilome division. These finding were then extra pol ted to three other hilly masses within the mandate area, Kangundo, Iveti and Mbooni where farmers then verified the similarities and differences between their own sub-locations and Kilome division. Although the land use proportions differed between the hilly masses, the constrain faced by the farmers were similar. The major constraints included 10 soil fertility, lack .f appropriate planting material, lack of capital, unorganized marketing of agricultural produce, p or access to extension services and a collection of pest and disease problems. Research proposals, interventions and possible opportunities were developed based on the information collect from farmers. It now remains the task of the scientists at NDFRC - Katumani to integrate these proposals into their research programmes and by working with farmers develop solutions that will be readily accepted.