Dissemination of push-pull technology (PPT), continued use and expansion of land area under PPT remain critical requirements in addressing the major constraints facing maize production. These include infestation by Striga weed and stem borers, coupled with declining soil fertility conditions which jointly result in low yields and poverty in many developing countries. Despite the extensive literature on PPT adoption, its impacts as well as wider dissemination, little is known about drivers of farmers’ decision to abandon it, or to expand the land area under the technology. Similarly, there is limited empirical evidence that demonstrate the effect of continued PPT adoption on smallholder livelihoods. Therefore, this study determined the rate and determinants of PPT dis-adoption and effect of dissemination pathways on the extent of PPT expansion. This study also evaluated the effect of continued PPT adoption on livelihoods of smallholder maize farmers in Homa Bay County. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select a sample of 240 smallholder maize farmers. Data were gathered through face-to-face interviews using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire. Seemly unrelated bivariate probit model, censored tobit model, and propensity score matching model were used to analyze the three objectives, respectively. Descriptive results indicated that adoption, dis-adoption and expansion rates of PPT were 51%, 39.94% and 48.59%, respectively. Bivariate probit results showed that level of education, greater access to extension services, positive perception of stem borer and Striga weed constraints, and smaller land size positively affected PPT adoption. In addition, male-headed households, high education level, large farm sizes, and a large number of livestock units negatively determined PPT dis-adoption decision. Similarly, greater access to extension service, positive perception of stem borer and Striga weed constraint, availability of napier and desmodium seeds, and longevity of PPT negatively and significantly influenced the PPT dis-adoption decision. Tobit results revealed that male-headed households, being in married households, greater access to extension services, longevity of PPT use and availability of napier or brachiaria seeds significantly affected the extent of PPT expansion with positive coefficients 0.146, 044, 0.156, 0.031 and 0.147, respectively. Similarly, the positive perception of the severity of stem borer, dissemination pathways, smaller land size and distance to the nearest market center significantly influenced the extent of PPT expansion. Interestingly, farmer-to-farmer, field days and farmer teachers were found to be the most important and effective dissemination pathways enhancing the extent of PPT expansion. Further, propensity score matching results revealed that continued PPT adoption had a positive and significant effect on household per capita consumption expenditure (KES 47.81 – 59.02 per day) and household dietary diversity (2.76- 2.87); but it had a negative impact on squared poverty gap (-0.07 to -0. 05). These call for policies that will ensure an integrated input development system which involves collaboration of all stakeholders in ensuring affordability, supply, and accessibility to not only desmodium seed but also other agricultural inputs by all gender. Again, there is a need to incorporate a model farmer as a key pathway in technology dissemination. Also, policies that ensure equitable access to quality education, output and input markets, and efficient and effective extension system should be put in place to ensure continuous and extensive use of PPT among maize farmers.

Background Information 
Agriculture plays a significant role in the global economy, and provides the main source of income, food, and employment to global populations. In sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, Kenya included, agriculture remains the backbone as well as the major contributor to the national economy (McIntyre et al., 2009). In Kenya, agriculture is among the leading economic sectors, accounting directly to about 60% of the total export earnings as well as 26% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2017). It also provides both on-farm and off-farm employment opportunities, thereby contributing to more than 18% of total Kenyan formal employment. The sector supports livelihoods of about 80 percent of the total population, making national economic growth to be highly dependent on its growth and development (KNBS, 2017). Kenyan agricultural sector is still dominated by smallholder farmers producing over 75% of total agricultural output. However, they still over-rely on rain- fed farming taking place on small plots ranging from approximately 0.2 to 3 hectares in both high and low potential regions (Government of Kenya, 2010). 

Despite being the leading economic and dominant sector in Kenya, agriculture is faced with a number of serious challenges. First, the exponentially growing population pressure, leading to increased demand for food and limited nutritional access vis a vis declining cultivated plot sizes. Second, declining agricultural or farm productivity due to climate change, degradation of natural resources, pest, weeds, diseases, limited access to credit, use of outdated technology and input, and low access to extension advice. Third, rising competition in both local and international output markets due to lack of infrastructure and institutional barriers (Kibet, 2014). Consequently, in order to realize its economic objectives, the Government of Kenya (GoK), through its Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) and Vision 2030, identified agriculture as an important development tool and vehicle, therefore raising the need to mitigate the above- mentioned agricultural challenges (GoK, 2012). Among the fundamental strategies identified to mitigate these agricultural challenges includes the adoption of new and improved agricultural production technologies coupled with efficient marketing techniques. These efforts are, therefore, facilitated through effective dissemination pathways in order to boost agricultural production in various agro-ecological environments (Kibet, 2014). 

Consequently, the Government of Kenya and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have introduced different new and improved agricultural technologies. These technologies aim at increasing agricultural productivity to match the growing population, thereby ensuring economic growth, poverty alleviation and arresting environmental degradation in Kenya (GoK, 2012). Such improved production techniques have been introduced to ensure efficient production of crops such as maize (Zea mays L.) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L. Moench) which are considered as major cash and food crops among the majority of the small scale farmers in Kenya (Romney et al., 2003). However, production of these crops in Kenya, especially in the western region, often faces several constraints that greatly contribute to food insecurity. The three major constraints experienced by almost all smallholder farmers in this region are infestation by parasitic Striga weed (Striga hermonthica), lepidopteran stem borers (Busseola fusca or Chilo partellus) and declining soil fertility (Reddy and Sum, 1992; Vanlauwe et al., 2008; Cairns et al., 2013). 

Stem borers and parasitic Striga often make countless Kenyans go hungry since they constrain increased cereal production in the region, therefore, resulting in low yields (Midega et al., 2016). A study by Kfir et al. (2007) found that stem borers cause grain yield losses of about 10-80% of the grain output, depending on the phonological stage of the pest at infestation and population density. On the other hand, Striga weed competes for nutrient and moisture needs, thereby suppressing the growth of the sorghum and maize plant; thus, resulting to a severe reduction in the amount of grain output or even total crop damage in severe cases. Maize yield losses of about 30% to 100% have been reported on farm plots under Striga weed infestation in the southern part of western region such as Homa Bay County (Khan et al., 2008). This is common in this county because many farmers still practice subsistence farming with limited options for external inputs resulting into a degraded environment characterized by low rainfall and declining soil fertility (Rodenburg et al., 2005). 

According to a study by Midega et al. (2016), controlling stem borers and parasitic Striga have been a difficult activity for smallholder farmers in this region largely because of biological and nocturnal characteristics of these weeds and pests. This is coupled with availability of impractical and uneconomical recommended control strategies for smallholder farmers. As a result, a majority of smallholder farmers in Homa Bay County do not effectively control these weeds and pests. This is because of persistent use of conventional and traditional methods such as repeated weeding, manure and fertilizer application, uprooting and crop rotation with the aim of reducing the number of the pests and weeds in the soils, as well as preventing reproduction and spread from infested to non-infested plots (Berner et al., 2005). These conventional methods have overtime shown minimal and localized success in controlling stem borers and parasitic Striga thus leading to continuous reduction in yields (Pickett et al., 2008). 

In order to protect smallholder maize farmers from the devastating effect of Striga weed and stem borers, scientists at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and Rothamsted Research in the United Kingdom invented an integrated pest management system known as Push-pull technology (PPT) (Oswald, 2005). Push-pull technology, therefore, involves intercropping sorghum or maize with a stem borer moth repellent fodder legume called desmodium (Desmodium uncinatum), which uses stimuli-deterrent diversionary strategy to control cereal stem borers (Cook et al., 2007). Then an attractant trap plant, known as brachiaria grass or napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum) is planted along the border of the farm. The mechanism involves the push where desmodium repels stem borers and suppresses Striga attack and the pull where napier grass attracts and kills stem borers (Cook et al., 2007). This technology was largely introduced in Homa Bay County back in 2002 by ICIPE and its partners to not only control Striga and stem borer problems, but also to increase yields, improve soil fertility and moisture, and to provide fodder among other benefits.

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 117 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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