Household-level determinants of adoption of improved natural resources management practices among smallholder farmers in western Kenya
Marenya, Paswel P
Barret, Christopher B
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Integrated natural resources management (INRM), of which integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) is a component, offers considerable promise for increasing food production in Kenya. It nonetheless remains unclear whether ISFM/INRM techniques lend themselves easily to adoption by smallholder farmers. Using panel data collected in western Kenya in 1989 and 2002, this study finds that resource constraints limit many farmers’ adoption of ISFM/INRM techniques. The size of the farm owned by a household, the value of its livestock, off-farm income, family labor supply, and the educational attainment and gender of the household head all had a significant positive effect on the likelihood of adoption. Similar factors were found to be statistically significant in discouraging abandonment of the practices under study. There thus seem to exist reinforcing feedback between investments in soil fertility management and household wealth, as measured by asset endowments. Our findings raise important questions as to whether ISFM and related techniques are really affordable to poorer smallholder farmers.