Rangeland Resource Management Technology Adoption among Agropastoral Households in South-Eastern Kenya: Its Influence on Factor Productivity and Poverty Alleviation
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This study was motivated by the need to ascertain whether rangeland resource management technologies are suitable and relevant as alternative means to improved agro-pastoral production and livelihoods. Data were collected through formal interviews using a structured questionnaire in Ngulu Sub-location, Kikumbulyu Location in Kibwezi Division, from a systematically selected sample size of 80 agro-pastoral households. Descriptive analysis revealed that there were differences in resource endowments between the adopters and non-adopters of rangeland resource management technologies. The adopters had larger pieces of land than the non-adopters. The adopters also had higher livestock numbers and .more fixed assets than the non-adopters. A binary logistic regression was used to determine the factors that influence technology adoption. The analysis revealed that education level of household head, participation in project activities involved in the introduction of rangeland resource management technologies, type of information source, gender of household head and inanagerial skill requirement had significant effects on adoption. The Cobb-Douglas production function was used to measure the effects of the factors of production among the agro-pastoral households. The results suggested that variable capital items, labour, land and farm implements have a significant contribution to output at 5% significance level. The results also implied that variable inputs and labour are profitable if expanded when compared to land and farm implements. The outcome showed that households in the study area and the non-adopters were experiencing increasing returns to scale while the adopters were facing a constant return to scale. The increasing returns to scale imply that the households in general and non-adopters in the study area are producing at a very small scale, in other words, they apply too little of the variable inputs compared to fixed resource outlays. These farmers can make more output per unit if they increase the level of variable inputs or if they shift the fixed resource outlays to other types of production to match the variable inputs. For the adopters, constant returns to scale implied that by adopting these resource management technologies the farmers were operating at input efficiency locus and their output levels lie within the stage of rational economic production. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated that grass reseeding, planting of multipurpose trees and water harvesting technologies adopted in the study area are suitable and relevant, and offer the means to improving agro-pastoral livelihoods by increasing earnings per unit area, food security and environmental conservation, thus leading to poverty alleviation. However, technology adoption is constrained by recurrent droughts, inadequate or non-existent framework of agricultural incentives, weak institutions and poor public services. The study therefore recommends the formation of farmer groups by farmers practising these technologies in order to access credit and stimulate their demand and adoption countrywide. There is also need to improve agricultural extension services.through exchange visits, demonstrations and study tours. Furthermore, the study recommends the development of markets for the rangeland resource management outputs.