Participatory evaluation and application of climate smart agriculture practices in mixed smallholder farming systems: a case-study in the semi-arid regions of Kenya

In the first phase of the CCAFS Program (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food security), climate-smart agriculture practices (CSAP) were identified and needed to be tested. In the semi-arid maize-growing areas of Kenya, dry-tolerant varieties and maize-legume intercropping appeared as the most appropriate CSAP, and this paper presents farmer’s evaluation of these farming systems. During on-station and on-farm trials in Makueni County, participatory evaluation of intercropping systems of five maize varieties and four beans varieties was conducted. In total, 150 farmers participated; they scored each variety on the basis of several phenotypic criteria and provided an overall score for the variety. Results emphasized the complexity of their varieties’ perception. In order to explain the overall score by different agronomic and socio-economic factors, a cumulative mixed model effect was estimated, including random effects for each farmer. Dry-tolerant varieties had a significant lower score, as GLP92 for beans and TEGO for maize. Socio-economic factors including age and gender of the participants influenced the overall score of varieties. We demonstrated that farmers who already purchased improved seed tended to give lower score. Finally, an OLS regression allowed exploring the weight of each phenotypic criterion in the overall score of a maize or bean varieties. This analysis revealed that farmer’s perception of a good variety is complex and rely on multiple criteria unlike most of the breeding program mainly based on yield oriented indicators

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-22

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