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Abstract

Market liberalization created a situation where there are no guaranteed grain prices, no central information source and the need for marketing information increased. Unfortunately, most farmers have little or no access to marketing information. This study evaluates farmers’ perceptions of importance of marketing information; identifies farmers’ sources of grain marketing information; determine farmers’ confidence in and use of marketing information; and assesses determinants farmers’ willingness (WTP) to pay for marketing information. Data used in this study were generated using a structured questionnaire in a survey that covered a random sample of 120 households in traditionally grain surplus-and deficit zones of Kenya. The data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and logit model. Results show that 68% and 55% of the households in grain surplus and deficit zones, respectively, recognized that marketing information was very important. Farmers received marketing information from multiple sources, mainly from traders and other farmers. Most of the farmers who received the information were not utilizing the information due to perceived unreliability of the information and poor access to complementary infrastructure. Education level of the household was the most significant factor that positively affected farmers’ WTP for marketing information. In view of farmers’ perception that information provided by the private sources is unreliable, the public sector ought to provide marketing information as a public service. Smallholder farmers should be catalyzed to form strong associations so as to enjoy economies of scale in accessing marketing information and markets.

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