The role of local government in promoting smallholder farming in Ngora District
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Policy implementation that targets Smallholder farmers has become one of the most important aspects on today’s international political agenda. It is a serious issue for governments because the majority of farmers are smallholders. The major purpose of the study was to analyze the Local Government policies and programs which are aimed at facilitating smallholder farmers in Ngora District. The specific objectives of the study were; to examine the different efforts that the Ngora Local Government had made in implementing policies that were meant to support smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods; to investigate how the smallholder farmers were being supported to improve the performance of the agricultural sector as a source of their livelihood; and explore the challenges which were being encountered in the implementation of those policies and programs. The study undertook a case study design and it used both quantitative and qualitative approaches to collect the data. The study population was mainly constituted of smallholder farmers in the district of Ngora. A sample of 161 respondents participated in the study. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data. Qualitative data were collected using key informant’s interviews and focus group discussion. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS while content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Out of 161 participants, 56 percent were males and 44 percent were females. The study found that the majority of the farmers did not benefit from the policy interventions by the Ngora Local Government due to the limited information about the government programs. The Ngora Local Government was facing challenges of implementing local government policies and programs. The study concluded that, although there were several policy interventions being implemented by the Ngora Local Government, the majority of the smallholder farmers have been benefiting more from the Non-Government Organization projects as compared to the Ngora Local Government policy intervention programs. This was mainly because the Ngora Local Government had limited information about the government programs. It was facing challenges of implementing the policies and programs due to limited financial capacity. The study recommended that, the Ngora Local Government should invest more financial resources in information dissemination about the Local Government policy and in the intervention programs that support the smallholder farmers. In order to boost their interest, knowledge and confidence in the programs, the Local Government needs to involve smallholders. This will increase their participation in the monitoring and implementation of the policies. There was need for the Ngora Local Government to work with the local population to increase participation in the policy programs that target the smallholder farmers.