ASSESSMENT OF INFORMATION NEEDS OF SMALL SCALE FISH FARMERS IN RURAL AREAS: CASE OF KAKAMEGA COUNTY
MACHANJE DAVID ISENJIA
An enhanced understanding of fish farmersí information requirements, information sources and access to information can help and guide extension officers and other agricultural programmes in provision of effective service and appropriate collections of information resources. The main purpose of the study was assessment of information needs of small scale fish farmers in rural areas with the aim of satisfying information needs for improved fish production. The objectives of the study were; to identify the existing information needs of small scale fish farmers in Kakamega County, find out sources of information, find out accessibility to fish farming information, and lastly to identify the challenges faced by fish farmers in meeting their information needs. The study was to bring an understanding on what fish farmers know and the information required in the process of fish farming and seals the gaps on effective information delivery. The study adopted the descriptive survey design. The target population was 1238: fish farmers in Kakamega County and staff from Kakamega County fishery department. The researcher used purposive sampling for staff while cluster sampling techniques was used for fish farmers. The sample size was 269. Before research the instruments were tested for validity and reliability. The data was collected from fish pond owners in Kakamega County and also the staffs from Kakamega County who work in fishery department were interviewed. Instruments of data collection on fish farmers were documentary review, structured questionnaires and in depth interview guides were used. Statistical Package for Social Sciences SPSS Version 25 was used to calculate and analyze the data quantitatively. To improve on fish farming assessment of information needs has to be done for delivery of relevant information which can be utilized effectively. The findings of the study revealed that; majority of fish farmers are those who reached primary and secondary education followed by those at tertiary level. Commonly cited information needs of the fish farmers was; farmers needed information on agricultural programmes to improve on their farming and fish pond construction and management practices in order to have more harvest. Subsequent to it was on fish breeding and spawning. Further the study revealed that extension officers and farmers meetings are highly preferred sources of information. Lack of awareness of information sources is a major challenge that hinders access to information according to the study. The study recommends: that more extension workers need to be employed by the county government, followed by Packaging and branding of information to suit community information needs, regular evaluations criteria like performance and influence, policy making, resource mobilization and staff training are to be done regularly.
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