Maize maize, calculated as a ratio of fertilizer

Maize Productivity TrendIn 2014, the national maize production slightly decreased by 2.2 percent from 39.9 million bags achieved in 2013 to 39.0 million bags (90 Kgs). The marginal decline is attributed to poor rainfall distribution that affected Central, Eastern and Coastal regions which normally produce a significant proportion of the crop. However, production of the crop was stabilized by fairly good weather patterns in North Rift, Western and Nyanza regions during the long rains season. The decline was also as a result of Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease that affected the crop in Rift Valley region. Western and Nyanza regions recorded a consistent improved maize production in the last three years. Similarly, the area under production decreased marginally from 2.12 million ha in 2013 to 2.1 million ha in 2014. Overall, maize yields per ha remained fairly constant since 2010,(ERA 2015).Profitability and maize productivityMorris et al. (2007) find fertilizer use to be unprofitable in many parts of Africa due to high prices and transportation costs. Heisey and Mwangi (1997) showed that profitability of input application to maize, calculated as a ratio of fertilizer price to maize market price, had increased over time in many major maize producing countries in Africa. Meertens (2005) calculated profitability using another metric, value cost ratios (VCR), and found a similar downward trend in profitability, reaching critically low levels particularly in SSA. Several articles divide potential reasons for low maize production into demand and supply side factors (Crawford et al. 2003; Morris et al. 2007). On the demand side, profitability is thought to contribute to low production.Profitability could be hindered by variability in prices (of input and output) and yield, agro ecological conditions (i.e., soil characteristics and weather patterns), and lack of knowledge about how properly to use input like fertilizer. Ability to pay reflects both low income levels and lack of access to credit in many rural areas. On the supply side, having input available in appropriately sized packaged at the necessary time of year often prohibits access at the farm level (Larson and Frisvold 1996). However these studies have not related profitability to maize production.Socio economic factors and maize productivity;Agricultural Extension Services and Maize ProductivityA country’s ability to fully utilize its agricultural production potential depends on the innovativeness of actors in the agricultural sector; particularly farmers. The capacity of farmers and actors along the agricultural value chain to innovate in their production activities is contingent on the availability of technology. The Green Revolution in Asia as demonstrated in the empirical literature (Moser and Barrett. 2003. Minten and Barett. 2008.among others) is an indication that improved technology adoption for agricultural transformation and poverty reduction is critical in modern day agriculture. Access to extension services is critical in promoting adoption of modern agricultural production technologies because it can counter balance the negative effect of lack of years of formal education in the overall decision to adopt some technologies.Education and maize productivityAccording to ( Adegbola and Gardebroek ,2007) educated farmers are able to better process information, allocate inputs more efficiently and accurately assess the profitability of new or improved, and easily adopt to changes as compared to farmers with no education. They also stated that the level of education attained by households is positively associated with households’ adoption behavior.A study conducted in Nigeria by Okoedo and Onemoleas (2009) on factors affecting the adoption of maize storage technologies, indicated that maize farmers in the study area experienced a serious post-harvest losses particularly due to grain rot. Most farmers claimed not to be aware of improved technologies. The main reason for the low adoption was lack of awareness for the improved storage methods, which could have been otherwise addressed by establishment of extension services.According to (Adoption of a New Maize and Production Efficiency in Western Kenya, Mignouna et al. 2010), 41% of households in western Kenya declared receiving at least one visit by extension agents; about 78% were adopters and only about 27% were non adopters illustrating the low output of extension services which most probably impacted negatively on adoption decision.Cost of Production and Maize FramingAccording to Nyoro J.K(2000), Machinery costs includes costs of ploughing, harrowing, chiseling, planting, spraying, harvesting and other post-harvest operations. Machinery costs are generally high particularly in maize. Farmers have also complained the ownership of farm machinery has reduced due to lack of financing mechanism for procurement of farm machinery. High costs of farm machinery thus have affected the quality and timeliness of operations such as the land preparation in the key maize production zones. This has negatively affected the profits accrued from maize productivity to the time of marketing. Size of Holding and Maize ProductionAccording to Nderitu (2009), the actual size of land to most farmers is small due to fragmentation as families enlarge and population increases. Thus, the maize farmers have problems with growing enough maize for their families and for commercial purposes. Research Gaps The past discussions have not paid any close attention to the effects of profitability on maize production. Therefore, this study also aims at discussing the effects of profitability on maize production.The review on profitability was not conclusive since the knowledge level of farmers and knowledge of good husbandry practice in maize production needs to be established. As regards social economic effects, it would be imperative to establish those of particular regions due to diversity in terms of resource endowments and social culture. The reviews noted government contributions like extension service program. However, the policies and programs in the maize sector were inadequately enumerated and the knowledge by farmers of them was overlooked. This was not adequately reviewed by the past researchers and a further study is crucial.