Goko, Margaret M. (2014)

Land is key input into agriculture production in Kenya. However, soil degradation coupled with an increasing human population has a negative effect on increasing and sustaining agricultural productivity and the environment. This study was conducted in Kaplamai division, Trans Nzoia County in Western Kenya with the aim of assessing the level of adoption of soil conservation practices among the local farmers. The specific objectives of the study were to determine the household perceptions of soil conservation and its effects, the socio-economic factors influencing adoption of soil conservation technologies and to establish the reasons for farmers’ willingness to pay for soil conservation activities on their farms. Random sampling was used to identify 232 farmers who were engaged in agriculture. Primary data was collected by administering a structured questionnaire, personal observation and informal interviews. Secondary data was obtained from official government documents and other relevant materials. The findings show that major perceptions on soil conservation technologies are not significantly different between the sexes and adoption is constrained by lack of finance (51%); too labour intensive (21%) and limited labour availability (20%). The practice is also perceived to result in low soil fertility leading to poor crop yields (93 %), sedimentation due to uphill land users (19%) and the carrying away of planted or sown seed (50%). Farmers adoption rates are contour ploughing 99%, bare terraces 58%, tree lines/hedge 56%, cut of drains 40%, infiltration ditches 7% and stone lines 2%. The Logit model result show that education level significantly influenced the adoption of bare terraces (p = 0.004), contour ploughing (p = 0.012) and cut off drains (p ≤ 0.001). Decision making significantly influenced the adoption of bare terraces (p ≤ 0.05), stone lines (p = 0.015) and cut off drains (p = 0.016). Crop growing significantly influenced the adoption of bare terraces, (p ≤ 0.001), contour ploughing (p ≤ 0.001), cut off drains (p ≤ 0.007) and infiltration ditches (p = 0.023). Household size significantly influenced the adoption of bare terraces (p ≤ 0.001), contour ploughing (p ≤ 0.001), stone lines (p ≤ 0.002), cut off drains (p ≤ 0.001) and infiltration ditches (p = 0.021). Farm income (p = 0.05); crop growing (p< 0.001); family involvement (p = 0.002); and highest level of education achieved (p< 0.001) are positive and significant explanatory variables of willingness to pay for improved soil conservation practices. On the contrary mode of working on the farm is negative and significant predictor of willingness to pay for improved soil conservation practices. Crop growing t = 4.012 is the main predictor of willingness to pay. The farm income, crop growing, level of education and family involvement had a positive and statistically significant impact on willingness to pay for improved soil conservation practices. At the household level, it is important to involve both male and female in soil conservation decision making: from public awareness through technology adoption to evaluation. It is recommended that policies that create environment that facilitate conservation of soil, minimize labour and financial constraints as well as improve formal education will encourage adoption of soil conservation measures. Further research is needed on how to measure the efficiency of the adopted soil conservation practices

University of Eldoret



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