Assessing the impact of access to agricultural services on maize productivity in Uganda
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This study analyzed the impact of access to agricultural services on maize productivity in Uganda using the Uganda Census of Agriculture 2008/2009 data collected by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBoS) and covered all the 80 districts in the country as of 1st July 2007. It was motivated by the fact there are low maize yields and yet the government of Uganda has continuously increased funding to the agricultural sector through providing agricultural services to the maize farmers.The objectives of this study were;(1) To identify the socioeconomic characteristics of maize farmers in Uganda and the level of maize farmers’ access to the different agricultural services (extension, credit, market services), (2) To determine and compare the impact that the access to different agricultural services has on productivity of maize in Uganda. Objective 1 was analyzed using descriptive statistics while Objective 2 was analysed using multiple linear regression. Results from descriptive statistics showed that the maize farmers had on average; 46 years, one visit from the extension officers in the past 12 months, credit of 124164 Uganda shillings in the past 5 years, distance to the local market of about 5 kms and a higher proportion of the farmers were illiterate. Results further showed that only 34.64% of the maize farmers had access to credit services, 56.46% had access to extension services, and 43.63% had access to markets. Econometric results from the multiple linear regression revealed that; age, literacy, fertilizer use, farmer membership, access to credit, access to extension service and access to markets significantly increase maize productivity. Therefore it is on the basis of this analysis that I recommend that there is need for policymakers to strengthen measures for farmers to access credit through farmer membership groups, VSLS, farmer banks, need by government to employ and train more extension workers to cover the largely unreached areas at the village levels and the central government should work together with the local governments in establishing maize produce markets in each sub-county in order to reduce the distance farmers take to reach the markets and through group marketing under farmer groups so as to enhance maize productivity.