DETERMINANTS OF ADOPTION OF IMPROVED WHEAT VARIETIES AND FERTILIZER USE BY SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN NJORO AND KIENI WEST, DIVISIONS

ABSTRACT 
Kenya has the potential to produce enough wheat for its domestic consumption, but over the years wheat consumption has continued to outstrip local production thus, making Kenya a perennial net importer of wheat. Current annual wheat consumption is estimated at 600,000 metric tonnes against a production of 365,696 metric tonnes. Though low wheat productivity can be attributed to many factors, little is known about the attitudes to and adoption of improved wheat production technologies at farm level. This study therefore, intended to bridge this information gap by determining socioeconomic factors that influence farmer’s perception of technology-specific attributes of and response to wheat production technologies. A sample of 150 households from Njoro and Kieni divisions were sampled using multistage sampling procedure and a structured questionnaire was used for data collection. 

Results of Kendall’s Coefficient of Concordance (W) show education level, distance to seed market, access to extension services, number of livestock units and family size correlated significantly with farmer’s perception of improved wheat varieties-specific attributes. Gender of household head, farmer’s experience, farm size, education level, number of livestock units and a household head’s affiliation to an organization correlated significantly with farmer’s perception of fertilizer-specific attributes. Results of Tobit models shows that, farmer’s Agro-Ecological Zone, farm size, farmer’s experience and distance to seed market influenced adoption and intensity of use of improved wheat varieties significantly. Farmer’s Agro-Ecological Zone, gender of household head and access to extension services influenced adoption and intensity of fertilizer use significantly. Decomposition of Tobit models revealed that marginal changes in an explanatory variable ceteris paribus, had higher effects on the probabilities of adoption than on intensity of adoption (use). Results of Spearman’s Coefficient of Rank Correlation (rs) show that, farmer’s perception of improved wheat varieties-specific attributes correlated significantly with adoption and intensity of use of improved wheat varieties. Farmer’s perception of fertilizer specific-attributes correlated significantly with adoption and intensity of fertilizer use. Results also showed that where the technology package is made up of separate components like seeds and fertilizer farmer’s attitudes to and adoption of the components are not at the same level. The study findings are useful to researchers, extension agents and policy makers. The study findings bridged the information gap and added to the existing body of knowledge of Agricultural Economics.

CHAPTER ONE: 
INTRODUCTION 
Background Information 
In terms of hectarage and contribution to food security, wheat ranks the second most important cereal crop in Kenya after maize (MoARD, 2002; GoK, 2004 and MoA, 2006). The current area under wheat is about 159,477 ha (MoA, 2006) and accounts for about 2.2 percent of the total area under crops and dairy pasture (GoK, 2004). Annual average wheat consumption is estimated at 600,000 metric tonnes against an annual average production of 365,696 metric tonnes (MoA, 2006). 

Wheat has been grown in Kenya since the 1900s. Its early development was confined to large-scale farms in the Rift Valley and parts of Central and Eastern provinces. This pattern has, however, changed with subdivision of large-scale farms into smaller land holdings (MoARD, 2002). Today, a numerous number of small-scale farmers grow wheat in the Rift Valley and parts of Central and Eastern provinces. 

The importance of smallholder farming is due to the number of farmers involved and their contribution to the economy. The smallholder sub-sector accounts for 75 percent of the total agricultural output and 70 percent of marketed agricultural produce (GoK, 2004). Production is carried out on farms averaging 2-3ha mainly for subsistence and commercial purposes. Increased wheat productivity, therefore, need to take place in the smallholder sub- sector and will involve enhanced efforts to encourage farmers to adopt modern farming practices. However, the sub-sector’s current use of improved inputs such as improved seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides or machinery is very low (GoK, 2004). 

Until 1974, Kenya was a net exporter of wheat to neighbouring countries and to Saudi Arabia, but since then the country has had to import wheat each year to meet a high and rising demand. According to FAOSTAT (2001) area under wheat increased from an annual average of about 118,552 ha in 1974-1990 period to an annual average of about 136,000 ha in 1990-2001. During the period 2001-2005, area under wheat increased to an annual average of 145,995 ha MoA (2006). However, increase in wheat production through area expansion has not kept pace with demand. Figure 1 shows wheat production and consumption for 1996-2006. From Figure 1 wheat consumption continues to outstrip local production. The result has been a wide gap between domestic production and consumption. The deficit in production is met through importation, which requires the use of scarce foreign exchange resources. This deficit in production indicates that production growth rate will have to more than double to keep pace with consumption growth rate.

Assessment of wheat production indicates that Kenya has the potential to produce enough wheat to meet its domestic consumption. This has been backed by FAO (2004) which has shown that, of all the rainfed wheat producing countries in Africa, Kenya has all the natural resources it needs to produce enough wheat to meet its consumption and hence increase its food security. According to GoK (1997a) increased wheat production will be achieved through intensification and increased productivity in high and medium potential areas and expansion of area under wheat in marginal areas. Increased production through area expansion in high and medium potential areas at macro-level is constrained by increased population pressure and stiff competition from maize, livestock production and high valued horticultural enterprises. The greatest competition, however, comes from livestock production, which occupies 47 percent of the land resources (GoK, 2004). The potential for increased production in high and medium potential areas is indicated by a productivity gap between research based-yield of 2.4 t/ha and 0.9t/ha obtained on farmer’s field (Muasya and 

Mwakha, 1996). Nevertheless the productivity gap in medium and high potential areas can be closed through the use of yield-enhancing technologies. The greatest potential for increased wheat production in Kenya is through expansion of area under wheat in marginal areas. According to MoA (2005b) the marginal districts in the Rift Valley province accounts for 77,866 ha (about 50 percent) of the current area under wheat though there is competition with wildlife and communal grazing. 

Though wheat production is faced with many constraints, low and decline soil fertility and inappropriate seeds are the major constraining factors. This is because soil fertility and seeds are the factors that considerably determine wheat grain yields. Studies by KARI (2001), KARI (2000), and KARI (1992) have shown that low and declining soil fertility is one of the major constraints in wheat production, besides pest and diseases, poor farm management and lack of credit. According to KARI (2000) low wheat yields are as a result of low levels of Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P) in the soil. Hassan, et al. (1993) showed that low soil fertility is one of the most serious problems affecting wheat production thus, threatening the wheat sub sector in Kenya. The constraint of low Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P) is worsened by the decline in soil organic matter content resulting from continuous cropping of wheat with no or little replenishment of removed nutrients; overgrazing between cropping seasons; and removal of crop residues for ruminant feeds (MoA, 2005a and KARI, 2001). Furthermore, many smallholder farmers in Kenya have not fully appreciated the values of using green manure and compost to maintain and improve soil fertility (KARI, 2001). Nevertheless, practical means of replenishing nutrients to exhausted cropland exist, and direct use of inorganic fertilizers is often considered to be an immediate solution. 

Use of inappropriate wheat varieties is also a constraint to increased wheat yields. A survey conducted in wheat growing areas in Kenya by Hassan, et al. (1993) found that, despite the release of new wheat varieties, farmers continued to use own seeds retained from year to year, and those supplied by seed merchants and other farmers without due regards to seed quality. According to Ndiema (2002) only about 10.0 percent of the farmers in Njoro and Rongai divisions of Nakuru district had adopted improved wheat varieties. 

Ndiema (ibid) in her study in Njoro and Rongai divisions of Nakuru district and Karanja (1996), in Mai-Mahiu and Ngorengore showed adoption of improved wheat production technology to be only 20.02 and 24.0 percent respectively. Therefore, the productivity gap 
between research-based yield of 2.4 t/ha and 0.9t/ha obtained on the farmer’s field cannot be attributed to management factors alone, but non-adoption or low adoption of wheat production technologies, among others, may be the critical impediments to productivity growth.

For more Agricultural & Applied Economics Projects Click here
===================================================================
Item Type: Kenyan Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 90 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
===================================================================

Share:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Search for your topic here

See full list of Project Topics under your Department Here!

Featured Post

HOW TO WRITE A RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS

A hypothesis is a description of a pattern in nature or an explanation about some real-world phenomenon that can be tested through observ...

Popular Posts