Authors

1 Department of Education, Chuka University, P.O Box 109 – 60400, Chuka

2 Technical University of Mombasa, P.O Box 90420 – 80100, Mombasa

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to identify and document technical knowledge and information gaps that can inform development of appropriate training programs for cane farmers. The study employed a survey research design; involving 105 small scale farmers in selected from eight Sub-counties of Kakamega County. Data was analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient was used to test for significance of relationships between access to information regarding cane production and the productivity of the crop. The results show that there was a strong positive correlation (r =0.722) between the firm size and the acreage under cane crop. The technical knowledge and information gaps varied on the basis of growth stages of the cane crop; 60% of the small scale farmers did not prepare land at the right time, 48% of the farmers did not know how to propagate cane, 34% did not know the cane planting spacing, 48% cultivated uncertified materials due to lack of capital and poor access to the suitable materials as the reasons. Majority of the farmers (92%) confirmed that they knew how to gap, although a few (8%) didn’t, 48% did not remove tillers from their crop, the number of times that the crop was weeded ranged from once (2%) to 8 times (2%), and 64% of the farmers applied organic manure while 87% applied inorganic fertilizers. The results show that majority of the smallholder farmers were unable to apply the recommended crop management practices due to lack of capital and lack knowledge and skills. For instance 38% of the respondents were unable to practice crop rotation due to lack of practical skills. Access to agricultural information regarding cane crop agronomy was rated as low by most of the respondents (58%).There was a positive correlation between access to knowledge and productivity of cane crop with a coefficient of 0.283. The productivity of sugarcane crop in Kakamega County was low and this was contributed by among other factors; lack of capital and inadequate knowledge and skills regarding the crop’s agronomy. The study recommends that strategies should be designed to disseminate practices that require technical knowledge and skills.

Keywords

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