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Journal: Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Vol.32, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ;

Page : 98-112

Keywords : agricultural extension; agro-pastoralism; alternative livelihoods; Maasai; pastoralism;

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The Maasai like many pastoralists around the world have in recent years been forced to seek alternative livelihoods as pastoralism becomes untenable due to climate change and population pressures. Agro-pastoralism is one of the alternatives being pursued, but there are associated challenges mainly due to the Maasai people's lack of indigenous technical knowledge on crop farming, and negative cultural attitudes to the practice. Agricultural extension services have a crucial role to play as the major providers of necessary technical knowledge on crop cultivation. The purpose of this gender-based study was to investigate the role of government extension services among Maasai agro-pastoralists as a source of influence and information on crop cultivation. The study also sought to determine the type and frequency of extension contact that the agro-pastoralists receive. The study adopted a survey research design and was carried out in Narok North District of Kenya, using a sample of 153 male and 87 female household heads, who were selected either through multi-stage cluster sampling or systematic sampling. Agricultural extension workers and key informants also provided data for triangulation purposes. The findings indicated the respondents had low contact with agricultural extension service, with 55.6% of male respondents and 66.7% female respondents reporting having had no contact at all. Informal sources comprising of relatives, friends and neighbours were the leading source of influence to grow crops as well as the leading source of technical information on crop farming for most of them, more so for the female respondents. The frequency of extension contact was generally low, with 50% of male respondents and 64.3% of female respondents reporting a frequency of three times or less over the past two years. Fifty-one percent of male respondents and 53% of female respondents rated the information they received as inadequate. For the female respondents, the leading types of extension contact were farm and home visits and seminars as well as seminars. For the male respondents, the leading extension type was a combination of different extension methods including farm and home visits, field days, demonstrations, seminars and office visits. The study findings clearly indicated the inadequacy of the extension services provided for the Maasai agro-pastoralists. The study therefore concluded that there was need to strengthen agricultural extension services among them in order to facilitate successful livelihood diversification and promote food security and livelihoods.

Last modified: 2017-11-07 23:29:58