Assessment of Access to and Utilisation of Treadle and Hip Pump Technology by Farmers in Machakos County, Kenya
Gitau, Teresiah Waithera
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The purpose of this study was to assess the access to and utilization of the treadle and hip pump technology by farmers in Machakos County, Kenya so that gender responsive strategies can be suggested to improve the uptake of the technology among the farmers. This was due to low adoption of the two pumps in Machakos county after previous KSI/WSU study that marketed and distributed the technology among farmers in the county. The specific objectives of the study were: to establish which irrigation technologies used before introduction of hip and treadle pumps; to find out how the farmers were accessing to and utilizing pumps; to examine the challenges facing farmers when accessing to and utilizing the pumps in the county and to suggest gender responsive strategies that would enhance access to and utilisation of pump technology. The study was guided by the social relations framework of analysis by Naila Kabeer. The framework, which gives a political, rather than a technical or informational solution, was complemented by the diffusion of innovations theory. The study used experimental and descriptive research designs for both qualitative and quantitave data. The study had 70 respondents comprising 42 farmers who were pump buyers purposively selected for the study and 28 pump non-buyers identified via snowball sampling method. Data were collected using interview schedules, key informant interview guides and focus group discussion guides. Findings indicate that the majority of respondents used irrigation tools that were powered by human and/or animals. In access, the most preferred type of pump among pump buyers was the hip pump over the treadle pump. Cash and credit payment option was preferred over savings option of pump purchase. In utilization, men used the pump more than women did since men were involved in operation and maintenance as they pedal while women distribute water using pipes. The major challenges to access to and utilization of the pump technology were at family level and market level. The study concluded that the use the treadle and hip pump technology was still appropriate in relation to the tools they were previously used to. However, the pump technology design in itself hampered use by women since it requires a lot of energy to use. The study recommends putting gender responsiveness in design of pumps, consistent intergenerational marketing and distribution of the pump technology with follow up by the marketer for adoption among women, men and youth. The marketer should also consider marketing and distribution through working with female opinion leaders, establish demonstration plots with women headed households as well as appoint enterprising women such as the group secretary as pump dealers to build supply networks and create linkages with farmers. The marketer can also consider advertising and marketing that does not conform to gender stereotypes and type of media chosen and content of message about the pump to reach women should consider their low mobility level outside their home or village. The study also recommends recruitment of female salespersons by KSI/WSU team as well as train male staff on the importance of seeing women as potential customers and how to interact with them while holding consistent talks with men in the family too. There is also need to for KSI/WSU team to have gender relations conceptual awareness building and implementation through writing brief policy statements on gender issues in the context of the organization.