Characterization of Sorghum Production and Marketing Systems in Eastern Province, Kenya: Sorghum for Multi-Use (SMU) Baseline Survey Report. Working Paper Series no. 53

Marangu, D and Audi, P and Mgonja, M and Mburu, N (2014) Characterization of Sorghum Production and Marketing Systems in Eastern Province, Kenya: Sorghum for Multi-Use (SMU) Baseline Survey Report. Working Paper Series no. 53. Working Paper. ICRISAT, Patancheru, Telangana, India.

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RP-Dryland Cereals

Additional Information

The information in the baseline report is as a result of the analysis of data collected during a household survey of 480 households in 4 sub-counties in Eastern Kenya. The authors acknowledge the invaluable contribution of the farmer respondents for sacrificing their time and ideas during the interviews. They are also grateful for the sub-county agricultural staff, the chiefs, assistant chiefs and the village elders for having accepted to be community entry points during the implementation of the survey. The authors are also indebted to Africa Harvest and ICRISAT-ESA staff for development of the survey tool and for carrying out the household interviews; as well as ICRISAT’s editorial team in Hyderabad for editing the manuscript and preparing it for publication. Finally funding, without which this work would not have materialized, for the research work in this report was provided by the EC, as part of the Commission’s support to the CGIAR with funds administered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy. The authors are indebted to each and every one who was involved in one way or the other in making this working paper a reality.


A baseline survey was conducted to characterize the sorghum production and marketing system in Eastern Province of Kenya and, in combination with other follow up rapid assessment fora with relevant stakeholders, to aid the setting of project performance targets and implementation of interventions including establishment of a commercial pilot sorghum value chain for testing and upgrading. Eight SMU mandate districts/ sub-counties were grouped into 4 technology-adoption clusters out of which 480 farm households were randomly selected from the most important sorghum producing sub-locations. Women were managers in about 50% of the household farms and about 80% of all farmers reported farming as their main occupation. The mean farm size was 7.8 acres out of which 50% and 30% was under crop and sorghum production, respectively. Farms managed by women were smaller than those managed by men. The farm households exhibited a variable dependency ratio with the women managed farms showing significantly higher dependency ratio (1.3) than male managed farms (0.9) – meaning that labor availability was a more critical constraint in women managed farms. Therefore, labor-saving (mechanization, etc) and land-saving technologies (higher yielding varieties, fertilizer, tied ridges, etc) would enhance sorghum production. The other constraints were poor production and market infrastructure and information asymmetry in which women farmers, with less access to production information than their male counterparts, reporting more dependence on “other farmers” for agricultural information. Majority of farmers depended on agro-dealers, radio and other farmers for agricultural information. Hence innovative information channels such as use of agro-dealers, radio, training of trainers (TOTs) and farmer innovation platforms should be strengthened. Although double the number of male than female farmers reported purchase of seed from markets, use of recycled sorghum seed was the norm by the majority of farmers while use of inorganic fertilizer on sorghum was nil. Sorghum grain production per household was 360 kg out of which 65% was sold, 30% consumed while 5% was kept for seed. Sorghum yield was highest in Mwingi (501 kg per acre) and lowest in Kibwezi (216 kg per acre). Farmers who reported use of farmyard manure reported 35% more sorghum grain yield than those who had not used farmyard manure. Furthermore higher household production and productivity was positively correlated with the practice of row planting and use of soil and water conservation technologies, including dry or early planting. The primary use of sorghum grain at the household level was for making porridge and “ugali” (stiff porridge) while value addition activities were limited to milling of grain or mixtures of sorghum and other grains, wet milling and dehulling. The most important sorghum product marketed was grain, which was bought by brokers, rural assemblers, urban traders and consumers, with the consumers offering the farmers highest prices. Low grain price was the most important marketing constraint and hence, as well as improving market linkage for grain, diversifying value added products of sorghum for household level use and for commercialization would help create demand for sorghum grain and improve prices. Although awareness of collective grain marketing was high, farmers’ participation was minimal and their participation was constrained by low grain production (36%), low grain quality (30%), delayed payment for delivered grain (29%) and restriction on free grain marketing (25%).

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Divisions: RP-Dryland Cereals
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals
Series Name: Working Paper Series No. 53
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kenya; Household survey; Sorghum Production; Sorghum for Multi-Use; SMU; Survey Report
Subjects: Mandate crops > Sorghum
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2015 06:29
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2015 06:29
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