In rural Kenya, wood remains important for both construction and fuel wood. Since most rural people in high potential areas experience deficit in fuel wood and other wood products, there is need to increase production through employment of on-farm production technologies that ensure sufficient supply. Adoption of Agro forestry technologies in rural Kenya has been promoted by both the government and NGOS in order to achieve wood sufficiency. However the adoption of Agro forestry technologies by small scale farmers has been low leading to persistence of wood fuel deficit. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate social-economic and cultural factors that influence adoption of Agro forestry technologies among small scale farmers. The study employed an ex-post-facto survey design, involving data collection on what already exist and not designed by the researcher. The study was contacted in Nzoia location, Lugari district. A sample of 201 small scale farmers who were selected using stratified proportionate random sampling in the location was used in the study. Data analysis was done using SPSS and to achieve the study objectives, descriptive, correlation and regression analysis were used. The study found out that farm size, sex (gender), land tenure, and farm preparation methods influences adoption of Agro forestry technologies in the study area but traditional believes and taboos do not. It was also found out that most small scale farmers were motivated to adopt these technologies by the many uses of trees and scrubs they plant on their farms. Though farmers’ interaction with the extension staff was low, the adoption rate was significant and so this study recommends that extension services to encourage more small scale farmers adopt these technologies be intensified.

Environmental resources support economic production and consumption opportunities. However, the loss of environmental resources such as forests has caused a global concern. The annual forest losses within the tropics alone, is estimated at 15.2 million hectares (GEF, 2005). Most Governments in developing countries see forest resources as assets to exploit without reinvestment to ensure sustainability. In Kenya, deforestation is still rampant particularly in villages and among highland farmers where land for cultivation is priority. Population pressure, improper Government policies and disruption of indigenous traditional land-use management practices, have contributed to accelerated degradation of forest land and loss of Biodiversity in Kenya (Kio and Abu, 1994). Thus consequently put forest cover in Kenya at less than 1.7% below the world recommended cover of 10%. It is therefore against this background that efforts to improve Agro-forestry technologies aimed at the integration of compatible components of Forestry and Agricultural Production System should be encouraged. EMCA, (1999), has come up with measures to encourage the planting of trees and woodlots by individual land users, Institutions and by Community organized groups. Ludeki et. al,. (2004), has recommended farm forestry as an opportunity to protect existing forests.

A wide range of factors influence farmers decision to adopt any form of Agro-forestry technology, and it ranges from household subsistence considerations, tenure arrangements, market for tree crops, Government policies, level of education and level of income. The Forest Act no. 7 of 2005 recognizes the importance of farm forestry as it diversifies farm production and provides both subsistence and income through such products as timber, fuel wood, herbal medicine, fodder and soil conservation. Agro-forestry technologies seek to increase land productivity and income generation with environmental rehabilitation and diversification of agro-ecosystems.

Ministry Of Finance And Planning (2000) indicates that more than 56 per cent of the projected population live below poverty line. Nzoia location of Likuyani division Lugari district, also experiences high level of poverty. This is where other systems of income generation such as milk production are failing and people rely mostly on crop production. There is therefore, need to investigate socio-economic and cultural factors influencing the adoption of Agro-forestry technologies as a potential to enhancing diversification of farm production and increase income generation at household level.

Statement of the Problem
Nzoia location is an agricultural area and production of maize is the main occupation of most small scale farmers. Due to high demand for maize production, other land use systems are slowly collapsing. Dairy production is declining due to diminishing grazing areas as farmers continue to increase land for maize production. Wood supply is becoming a major problem as farmers pay little attention to Agro forestry practices. While some of the benefits of Agro forestry technologies are fodder production, diversification of food sources, increased soil fertility and increased wood supply. It is not known how socio – economic and cultural issues influence the adoption of these technologies. This research, therefore led to investigating the influences of these factors on Agro forestry technology adoption.

The broad objective of the study was to investigate adoption levels of Agro-forestry technologies among small scale farmers in Nzoia location.

Specific Objectives
i. To conduct an inventory of agro-forestry technologies applied in Nzoia location.

ii. To investigate the factors that influence adoption of Agro forestry technologies in Nzoia location

iii. To asses the benefits of agro-forestry technologies at household level in Nzoia location

Research Questions
i. What are the commonly adopted agro-forestry technologies among small-scale farmers in Nzoia location?

ii. What are the factors that influence agroforestry technologies in Nzoia location?

iii. What are the major benefits of Agro forestry technologies at household level in Nzoia location?

Nzoia location is an Agricultural area and maize production is the main occupation of most small scale farmers. The 1999 National Population Census put the human population here at 22,195 people on a land area of 55.2 km2 (CBS, 1999). The increase in population has led to subdivision of land into smaller units and intensified maize cultivation, grazing areas have also shrunk and dairy production is slowly collapsing denying farmers a key alternative source of income. Grazing and cultivation areas have hampered bush growths that were sources of firewood. There is therefore, need to harmonize various land production systems through Agro forestry technologies.

Through Agro forestry technologies, farmers are able to meet fuel wood needs, fodder for dairy production and increased fertility for farm crop production. Trees under Agro forestry technologies are known to improve the environment in terms of social, economic and ecological status ICRAF (1992); GEF (2002). This study established the status of Agro forestry technologies practices within Nzoia location, Lugari District. A program to be adopted at the household level, to enhance on-farm forestry will be developed based on these findings. The program will integrate the local people’s needs, their valued tree species and the benefits accruing out of certain preferred Agro forestry tree species. These results will help communities, stakeholders and policy makers to understand the need for on-farm afforestation in Kenya.

Scope and Limitation of the Study
The research area covered four sub-locations; Musemwa; Vinyenya; Mois Bridge; Matunda and concentrated on Socio-economic and Cultural factors influencing the adoption of Agro forestry technologies in the location (Nzoia).

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Item Type: Kenyan Topic  |  Size: 54 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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