Farming-related transport needs and provision in Mwea Tebere irrigation scheme, Kirinyaga district, Kenya
Mbuthia, Susan W.
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This study analyses farming related transport needs and provision in Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme, Kirinyaga District, Kenya. The objectives of the study are to: (a) describe the basic transport features at the farm level, (b) examine how farmers meet their agricultural transport needs, (c) identify and determine the type, severity and effects of transport constraints faced by farmers on farming related activities and (d) discuss the farmers' efforts in overcoming the transport constraints facing them. The following hypotheses are tested in this study: (a) there is no significant difference in average trip lengths travelled daily by farmers in different sites of Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme, (c) there is no significant difference in average time spent on farming related movement by men and women in Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme, (e) there is no significant difference in the means of transport used by men and women , and (f) there is no discernible pattern in rating of transport constraints experienced by farmers in Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme. Data for the study were collected by the use of a space-time movement frequency matrix, a questionnaire and focus discussions. The Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 6.3 was used for data processing and analysis. The following statistics and tests were used to summarize the data and test the hypotheses: mean, percentages,frequencies, chi-square test, student's t-test, analysi of variance ( ANOVA) and factor analysis. The results were presented using tables and photographs. ANOVA test reveal s that there is a significant difference in the average distances travelled daily by farmers. The test also indicates that there is no significant difference in average time spent on farming related movement in Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme. The student's t-test analysis indicates that men spend more time than women do on farming related movement. Chi-square test reveals that there is a significant difference in the means of transport used by men and wome. The factors analysis demonstrates a discernible pattern in the rating of transport constraints by farmers. These constraints are identified and labeled as: administrative and management constraint, financial constraint, inaccessibility, load transport constraint, poor road infrastructure and inadequate motor vehicle services. The overall effect of these constraints is delay in performance of farm activities, leading to less farm production. To overcome the transport constraints they face, farmers have adopted two main coping strategies: use of non-motorised means of transport and reducing the number of visits to the market. Whereas these coping strategies are important to the farmers they could still be improved. It is , therefore, recommended that: the current Irrigation Act should be reviewed to address the existing farming related transport needs of farmers, non-motorised means of transport, particularly the bicycle, be modified and all the stakeholders (government, farmers, traders) in the transport service in Mwea Tebere Irrigation Scheme be involved in construction, repair and maintance of roads within the Scheme.