The Role of Farmer Field Schools Approach in Improving Tea Production among Smallholding in Kenya
Chimoita, E. L.
Maina, G. D.
Onyango, J. P.
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Tea production, processing and marketing in Kenya is under management of two sectors. The two sectors include; Kenya Tea Development Agency which manages approximately six hundred thousand small scale farmers and multi-nationals sector for example Uniliver/Lipton teas, James Finlay’s and George Williamson holdings manage privately plantations and estates of tea. The volume and frequency of plucking tea leaves enhances net revenue for small scale tea farmers in Kenya. The main objective was to determine the role of Farmer Field Schools extension approach and eventual outcome tea production among small scale farmers in Kenya. The study assessed the trends and the influence of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) approach in addressing productivity of tea leaves. The study employed descriptive statistics and mean trends analysis to determine the influence of FFS in tea production. The study sites were six sub locations of tea growing areas. The sites were purposively since they were pilot areas where the initial farmer field schools were collaboratively initiated by Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) and Uniliver/Lipton teas for enhancement of tea production. The study gathered primary data from sampled tea farmers by use of structured questionnaires. Secondary data was sourced from the KTDA archives records. Research findings revealed a positive trend in green tea leaf production and as well as revenue. Further, it was revealed that social positive effects such as farmers willingness to participate in group activities and sustainable tea husbandry, promotion of self-mobilization and interactive participation enhanced tea production. The positive economic-agricultural productivity effects were; the transfer and adoption of agricultural technologies particularly in tea growing that enhanced revenue, increased access to knowledge and agricultural information.