Factors influencing the efficient distribution of seeds to consumers in Kenya : a case of selected seed companies in Trans Nzoia District
Seed is one of the major inputs in agricultural production and it is a prerequisite to successful crop production. Maize is a stable food in Kenya accounting for twenty five percent of all agricultural production. Trans Nzoia district is the leading producer of maize in Kenya with small-scale farmers being the main producers. The major challenge, which these farmers face, is that of accessibility to major farm inputs which includes seed. This has contributed to the decline in the use of improved seed hence a decline in yields. The leading seed companies have put in place seed distribution networks to enhance accessibility, however, a challenge still remains for farmers to access it where and when required. This study therefore sought to investigate the factors that influence accessibility of certified seed in Trans Nzoia district. To meet the objectives of the study both primary and secondary data were used. Primary data was obtained from the field by using the questionnaires. The secondary data was obtained from records available with the seed companies, department of agriculture and district development office. From the seven administrative divisions of Trans Nzoia district, farmer households were selected from the 2004 household projections. Proportionate stratified sampling was then applied to obtain a proportional representation of each division in the sample group. This was followed by a simple random sampling procedure to select the households to participate in the study. One hundred small-scale farmers who responded were drawn from the population of farmers in Trans Nzoia district. The study also targeted two seed companies operating in Trans Nzoia district namely Kenya Seed Company Ltd and Western Seed Company Ltd. Also targeted by the study were eighty seed agents and seed stockists. The data obtained were analyzed with the aid of SPSS. Descriptive statistics was used to explore, analyze, and describe the factors and provide conclusions.