A farmer based evaluation of the group approach to sustainable agricultural development in Sanga Sub-County, Kiruhura district, South-Western Uganda
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Although in Uganda, the group approach has been found to be essential for farmers’ accessibility to extension services among others, the perception of farmers on its performance is rarely sought. This study aimed to conduct an evaluation of the group approach to agricultural development from the point of view of the farming community in Sanga sub-county, Kiruhura District. The objectives of the study were to establish the perceptions of the farmers on the role of farmer groups, their perceptions of the challenges and possible solutions that would make group participation an avenue for individual and community development. A survey using a random sample of 117 farmers was conducted in June 2014. Employing a descriptive study design, responses on their opinions were weighted using a Likert Scale. Key informants consisting of district officials, staff of non-governmental organizations and selected farmer groups were also interviewed. The results show that group membership was positively and significantly associated, at the 5% level, to the level of education. Although the sex of the respondent was not significantly associated with group membership, non-group respondents felt there was gender-based discrimination in access to group services and benefits. While the respondents acknowledged the importance of farmer groups as avenues for the provision of agricultural inputs and extension services, inaccessibility to land and production funds propelled poor participation in farmer groups. Efforts to improve this access especially to young farmers, improve infrastructural development would enhance the contribution of the farmer group approach to sustainable agricultural development.
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