Factors Affecting Adoption and Intensity of Use of Organic Soil Management Practices in Maize Production in Bungoma County, Kenya

To reduce poverty, which is a major issue in Kenya, the agricultural sector and development policies emphasize on use of chemical inputs as a means to increase food production. These inputs, however, cause a considerable damage to the natural environment. As an alternative, organic agriculture uses minimal external inputs and enhances an ecosystem‟s health by minimizing adverse effects on natural resources. Organic soil management practices in Bungoma County have been promoted intensively by SACRED Africa for more than a decade, however, there is still a low uptake of these practices and their levels of utilization by farmers have not been evaluated. This study focused on factors affecting adoption and intensity of use of organic soil management practices in maize production in Bungoma County. In addition, the study determined the farmers‟ perceptions towards organic soil management practices and also examined a comparative profitability between organic and conventional maize production. A systematic random sampling technique was used to select a representative sample of 150 smallholder farmers and primary data was collected using observations and interviews with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire. In the analysis, descriptive statistics, chi-square test, independent two-sample t-test, a Likert-type five-point continuum scale and a Tobit model were used with the help of STATA, statistical package for social sciences and Excel computer programs. The perception results showed that environmental concern was highly perceived as the most important practice related to organic soil management. The gross margin was higher in organic than conventional maize production, however, result of two-tailed independent t-test was insignificant between organic and conventional maize production. Education level of the household head, age of the household head, household size, farmer‟s positive perception, ownership of land by title deed, group membership, farm distance from the farmer‟s homestead, extension contacts and farmer access to credit influenced adoption and intensity of use of organic soil management practices. The recommended policy interventions in enhancing farmers‟ awareness through extension and training on organic soil management practices, encourage stocking of dried organic manure in shops, improvement on prices of organic products, improving farmer access to credit facilities and enhancing security of tenure through provision of land title deeds. This will promote adoption and intensity of use of organic soil management practices which will in turn lead to environmental sustainability.

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A thesis submitted to the Graduate School in partial fulfillment for the requirements of the award of Master of Science Degree in Agricultural and Applied Economics of Egerton University. Advisors: Dr. Job K. Lagat (PhD) and Dr. Gicuru K. Ithinji (PhD)

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-29

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