Profitability of Maize Production Using the Agri-benchmark Approach: A Case of Transnzoia County

Kevin at EU Conference 1

  Kevin Onyango, Research Assistant, presenting at the Conference

Kevin Onyango, a Research Assistant at the Institute made a presentation on the Profitability of Maize Production Using the Agri-benchmark Approach: A Case of Transnzoia County, which is part of an ongoing series of similar studies in various parts of the country and member countries abroad.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost of maize production for farmers in the grain basket area of the country (Trans Nzoia county) using the Agri-benchmark methodology. This is an internationally standardized method for analysis of farms; their production systems and profitability to provide scientifically consistent and soundly based answers on strategic issues to stakeholders and decision-makers in policy, agriculture and agribusiness. Different methodologies have been used in the past to estimate cost of production by different organizations yielding differing results thus making it difficult to give policy advice. Agri-benchmark approach thus makes it possible to produce representative and valid results which can be relied on.

Results from the study indicate that maize farming in Trans Nzoia was generally profitable for both small and large scale farmers though fertilizer and labor contributed the highest to the cost of production. On fertilizer application, Nitrogen and Phosphorus were within the normal recommended range though soils were acidic. Use of blended fertilizers and liming are avenues farmers could use to increase soil nutrient availability and boost their production, thus the importance of soil fertility mapping. Fertilizers could also be packaged in smaller packs especially for the small scale farmers. The logistical problems associated with access to subsidized fertilizers should also be dealt with through partnership between the county governments and farmers to share transport cost and bring the fertilizers closer to the farms in a timely manner.

To address the problem of high and increasing cost of labor, the study shows that farm level mechanization can be encouraged through investment in simple mechanized farm tools and implements. Adoption of on farm conservation tillage practices is also recommended as a means for conserving soil and water and also as a way of reducing labor requirement in maize farming.

Authors: Raphael Gitau, Kevin  Onyango, Francis Karin