The influence of selected business developement services on the productivity of farmers: a case of Technoserve's banana program in South Imenti district
Kamau, Jane Wanza
MetadataShow full item record
Traditionally, services have been given low priority and referred to as a leftover category of minimal importance, compared with the 'real' endeavor of producing commodities and manufacturing goods. This is partly due to the perceived intangibility of services, which makes them easily interpreted as vague and weak. In addition, most BDS provision has been donor funded, however with reduced donor funding, development agencies are reducing their spending in the provision of BDS. But despite this, the crucial role of business services in successful economies is now beginning to be appreciated. This is supported by the fact that there is increasing recognition that services add value to commodities and goods and allow businesses to compete more effectively, access new markets, and operate efficiently (Riddle 2000). Hence this research study seeks to determine the effect of selected business development services (BDS) on the productivity of farmers within TechnoServe's Banana program with specific focus on South Imenti District. Due to the vastness of business development services, coupled with limitations of time and financial resources, the researcher restricted the study to production related BDS and marketing related BDS. The research was designed as a descriptive survey. The study population comprised of 1,311 banana farmers from which a representative study sample of 147 farmers was drawn using a simple random sampling method. These were issued with the data collection tool i.e. a structured questionnaire. Out of the 147 questionnaires issued 119 were returned fully filled. The data was then coded and analyzed using descriptive statistics namely the mode, mean, range, tables, graphs, charts, percentages and regression coefficient. Upon data analysis the researcher established that there was a very strong positive association between the production and marketing related BDS received and their effects on the quantity of bananas produced and sold. This was further supported by other findings in the study which indicated that 57% of the respondents had increased farm area under banana production despite the limiting farm sizes which averaged 2.9 acres, in order to increase yield hence increase income. Though a significant majority of the farmers were satisfied with the quality and relevance of BDS information provided, an equal majority were concerned over the mode of delivery and the time when the services are provided. Hence the researcher suggests that the project owners can improve on these two aspects by taking time to understand the peculiar circumstances of the farmers such as their age, education level and time limitation in order to tailor their services to overcome such challenges.