Kenya’s smallholder maize-legume farmers are faced by many challenges in production, among them soil mining, input acquisition, and low soil fertility. In an attempt to address these challenges, the use of Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Practices (SAIPs) has been promoted widely. However, their uptake has remained low among smallholder maize-legume farmers and it is unclear whether social capital influences SAIPs uptake. Using secondary data from Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) through International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) supported Adoption Pathways (AP) project, a Three Least Squares (3SLS) estimation, a Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) procedure, and an ordered logistic model were used: to determine factors that significantly influence a household decision to invest in social capital forms; to establish the social capital effects on the uptake of SAIPs combinations; and to analyse the social capital effects on maize availability among smallholder maize-legume farmers, respectively. The findings of the study show that membership score positively and significantly influenced network density (P < 1%). Furthermore, the level of social capital was influenced by the age, education, and gender of the household head, credit received and income of a household. The results further show that, except for cognitive and participation in social capital, the aggregate social capital variable was insignificant in explaining the adoption of SAIPs combination. Moreover, the age of the household head, whether a household received information about SAIPs and input markets, income and household positively and significantly influenced the adoption of SAIPs. On household maize availability, social capital forms were insignificant influencer. However, age, income, and education stock positively and significantly influenced household maize availability. The study results imply that enhanced information dissemination on the benefits of SAIPs adoption and use, through social capital, would lead to improvements on SAIPs adoption rates and levels, and this will improve maize availability, as well.

Background of the Study 
By the year 2050, the world population is projected to be 9.9 billion people (UN, 2015). Ninety- three percent of the targeted population rise is thought to take place in developing countries, whose share of the global population was projected to increase from 78% in the 1990s to 83% by 2020 (UN, 2015). This rise in population will require approximately 40% increase in food production to meet their demand (UN, 2015). This implies that there is a need to develop a shared vision and consensus for action on how to meet the world’s future food needs, reduce poverty while protecting and conserving the environment. In sub-Saharan Africa, food insecurity, poverty, and low agricultural productivity are key challenges facing many households. The likelihood of food insecurity is greatest in arid and semi-arid lands due to flimsy and impulsive rainfall patterns and poor resource endowment (Alila and Atieno, 2006). Other factors like drought, nutrient mining, limited availability of resources to farmers and low soil fertility are also linked to low agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa (Mucheru et al., 2009). 

Like many sub-Saharan Africa countries, Kenya’s economy is supported by Agriculture (KNBS, 2015). It contributes 26% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 65% of the country’s export earnings. The sector also contributes a further 27% to the GDP through linkages with other sectors like manufacturing, distribution, and service related sectors. The sector also employs about 70% of the labor force either directly in production or indirectly in the service industry (GoK, 2014). The Kenya Vision 2030 also continues to recognize agriculture as an essential sector of the economy, emphasizing on food security initiatives and providing a source of employment to many people. The target will be achieved by orienting it to commercialization, modern ways of production and concentration on more and better ways of value addition of agricultural produce (GoK, 2007). All these outcomes are possible by improving yields in core food crops like maize and beans. This is because maize and legumes are major crops grown in Kenya and the fact that maize is a staple crop in the country (Kirimi et al., 2011). Smallholder farmers are the chief producers of the cereals supplied, hence, need to improve productivity in main production potential areas to reduce the deficit experienced in the country almost every year (Kirimi et al., 2011). The high yields can be realized if farmers use the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Practices 

(SAIPs) that optimize harvest (Pretty et al., 2011). These practices will help in improving and sustaining food security, increasing household income and improving welfare, hence economic development. The SAIPs are particularly relevant to smallholder farmers who are constrained by a number of factors like low and unpredictable rainfall; infertile soils; soil erosion; destitute infrastructure; lack of or poorly developed institutions; problems of input procurement and sale of output; credit access difficulties; climate change; and soil mining (Mwangi and Kariuki, 2015). 

Despite its importance, the agricultural sector in Kenya has remained low in production. This is attributed to weak technology diffusion and innovation in Kenya with 0.129 scores (Salami et al., 2010). Alila and Atieno (2006) postulate that the inability of farmers in Kenya to afford readily available modern farming technologies results in low productivity. This is evidenced by low yields per acre. Poor institutions, marketing facilities, and information flow are some of the constraints facing agricultural production (Alila and Atieno, 2006). A declining trend in agricultural productivity has implications for income inequality, unemployment and food insecurity (Alila and Atieno, 2006). Higher earnings; lower poverty; improved nutritional status; increased employment activities and lower staple food prices are associated with the adoption of improved agricultural technologies (Mwangi and Kariuki, 2015). It has been argued that intensification of production through the increased use of improved inputs, diversification from low to high-value crops, commercialization of smallholder agriculture and increased valued addition through stronger linkages with other sectors will result in increased agricultural production (Alila and Atieno, 2006). 

Social capital refers to relationships of trust, communications, and cooperation that facilitate collective action in a community (Ville et al., 2016). According to Katungi (2006), social capital influences information diffusion and social learning, which are pertinent to SAIPs adoption. It allows cooperation and willingness to share information. As a result, it reduces the cost of acquiring information since it can be acquired during social interactions. Social capital also reduces the uncertainty about the dependability of information from well-established sources to learning by seeing or doing. Information from trusted people is likely to be given higher value by recipients (Kassie et al., 2015). Social capital is useful for individual decision making in a household. It is also important in enhancing agricultural innovations, sharing crucial information and learning from each other (Mwangi and Kariuki, 2015). According to Mwangi and Kariuki (2015), access to the social network has been reported to stimulate the adoption of technology. It also reduces information doubt about a technology’s performance. It may change a person’s assessment overtime from purely subjective to objective. Social capital can increase the possibility of access to various forms of social support during times of need (Martin et al., 2004). Groups like cooperatives, farmers associations and clubs are ways through which the government and NGOs give the vital agricultural inputs to the rural communities in the form of loans or at times for free as a safety net. Local institutions at a community level and social capital have a vast role in maintaining food availability at household and individual levels (Dzanja et al., 2015).

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 84 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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