The role of agricultural extension services in ensuring food security: A case study of plantain farmers in Nyakaina village- Ntungamo district
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to determine the contribution of agricultural extension services on household food security in plantain farmers in Nyakaina village, Ntungamo district, Western Uganda. The specific objectives of the study were to access the household socio-economic characteristics, establish the level of access to extension information by households and its effect on food security, find out the farmers’ level of adoption of inputs and practices recommended by the extension services and how it affects food security of households and to determine the food security situation of households in plantain farmers in Nyakaina village, Ntungamo district, Western Uganda. The importance of food at the household level is obvious since it is a basic means of sustenance. Adequate intake of quality food is a key requirement for healthy and productive life, food insecurity can result in poor health and reduced performance of children. Many countries mainly in the sub Saharan region experience food insecurity with food supplies being inadequate to maintain their citizens’ per capita consumption. Adequate home production of food and/or adequate economic and physical access to food are touted as major means through which household food security could be guaranteed. However, smallholder farming in less developed countries which is based on low-input and inefficient traditional farming practices coupled with population pressure on land have impacted negatively on sufficient food production. The study adopted a survey research design where the target population was 14,489 households in Ntungamo District. The study used purposive sampling to select 2 locations from the 15 available in the district. Purposive sampling was again used to select 4 sub-locations from each of the sampled locations. Eight villages were then sampled from the sampled sub-locations and 15 households sampled randomly to bring the sample size to 120 households. Twelve (12) key informants provided in depth information on the effect of extension services on food security in Ntungamo district. The data was collected and analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods. Data from questionnaire were then coded and logged in the computer using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS V 16.0). The study established that the food security situation in the district was dire even though farmers harvested plantain. The study further established that farmers adopted inputs and practices recommended by the extension services such as improved Suckers, timely preparation of land and planting and timely harvesting among others. Last but not least, the study established that household accessed information through radio broadcast and field demonstrations. The study concludes that the households characteristics such as level of education, number of children and farm acreage influenced the food security in Ntungamo district as most of them are illiterate and semi illiterate and therefore limited to information adoption and also the food insecurity is due to the fact that the harvest could barely last for more than six months and this resulted to alternative ways of food acquisition such as buying. The study recommended that the farmers should be encouraged to diversify and stop looking at banana as the only food crop but explore other food crops such as potatoes among others and the government in a way to support the plantain farmers should lower farm inputs through subsidies and access to credit through enterprises to encourage continuous usage of fertilizer in planting.