Factors influencing income of individual farmers in fish pond farming practices in Kakamega East Subcounty, Kakamega County, Kenya
Fish farming could be a source of good health, employment, income, and wealth. This study investigated factors influencing income of individual farmers in fish pond farming practices in Kakamega East sub county, Kakamega county in Kenya. The study’s objectives were ; to examine the extent to which training of fish farmers influenced their incomes from fish ponds, to investigate how availability of fish market and marketing influenced the incomes of the fish pond farmers, to establish how availability of quality fingerlings influenced fish pond incomes of the farmers and to measure the extent to which availability of quality fish feeds influenced the incomes of fish pond farmers. The study considered literature from various sources including but not limited to journals and thesis papers amongst others, while adopting the theory of Constraints( Goldratt & Cox, 1992 ).The sample size used was 120 respondents among them 118 fish farmers, arrived at by using the table of Krejcie & Morgan1970 and the only two extension officers from a population target of 172 farmers and two extension officers in the Sub county. The sub county was stratified into wards and numerical ratios used to apportion sample size per ward respectively. Simple random sampling was used to select individual respondents from each stratum whereas extension officers were purposively selected. Questionnaires (with both structured and open ended questions)were used in the collection of data from the extension officers, interview schedules used as main instruments of data collection from the farmers during the study, while observation schedules for fish ponds, document analysis for both fish farmers and the extension officers were incorporated. The researcher sought assistance of the university supervisors and other experts to ensure validity of the instruments, while instrument reliability was ensured by piloting the tools on 8 respondents of fish pond farmers in Kakamega Central Sub-county of Kakamega County, in Kenya. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods during analysis of data. The collected data was sorted out and analyzed using a Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20. Significance testing as a statistical technique was used to determine whether the sample drawn from the farmer population was actual while also it was determined by the conventionally set alpha level, set at .05 or 99.95% accuracy. Tables of frequencies and percentages were used to present findings while cross tabulations with their corresponding mini-tables presented significance levels of each indicator tested in the study. A 99.2% majority response rate was attained as the researcher would easily access the farmers in their farms as well as one extension officer. Majority of the farmers were males as compared to their female counterparts. Seminars and field demonstrations emerged very significant; preservation and storage; cost of fingerlings; and quality of fish feeds coupled with availability of fish feeds were found to influence fish farmers incomes in Kakamega East Sub-County respectively by the objectives studied. The study established that inadequate feasibility studies, non-follow-ups exercises, ineffective monitoring and evaluation and none stakeholder involvement in fish farmers enterprises caused fears among farmers on whether challenges such as storage facilities, market for their produce, quality of fish feeds and fingerlings would be tackled. The study recommended proper and extensive feasibility studies, formalized and regular field demonstrations, frequent monitoring and evaluation, regular extension xiii services and a firm support from the county and national governments in provision of quality and subsidized inputs for the fish farmers to sustain the project.