Influence of capacity building on adoption of soil conservation in Miriga Mieru West Division, Imenti North District, Kenya
The rapidly increasing population in Kenya has led to a declining availability of cultivable land and a very high rate of soil erosion (Wegayehu, 2(03). In the country, efforts towards soil conservation were started since the 1970s and 1980s. Since then a huge amount of money has been invested in an attempt to introduce soil and water conservation measures particularly in the areas where the problem of soil erosion is threatening and food deficit is widespread. The conservation measures were in most cases physical measures and undertaken through campaign using Food-for-Work or Cash-for-Work as an instrument to motivate farmers to putting up the conservation structures both on communal holdings as well as on their own plots. However, the efforts put towards the promotion of the conservation technologies so far seem to have had limited success in achieving sustained use and widespread adoption and hence more or less failed to meet the anticipated objectives. The limited success of those efforts highlights the need to better understand the factors that encourage or discourage the adoption and sustainable use of introduced conservation measures. This study therefore sought to assess the influence of capacity building on conservation structures in Miriga Mieru division, Imenti North District, Kenya The study also explored the constraints faced by farmers in using conservation measures and elicited farmers' opinion for the betterment offuture conservation initiatives. The study used questionnaire, interview and observation as a means of collecting data The questions were both open and closed ended. The data was both qualitative and quantitative in nature using descriptive statistics. The presentations and interpretation of the results were presented in form of tables, frequencies and percentages derived from SPSS software and interpretation done. The empirical results showed that, even though average number of the respondents was trained in soil conservation more effort is required to raise the number of trained farmers since the study revealed that, there was no significant relationship between knowledge and implementation of soil conservation measures. The study further established that there was a significant relationship between household resource capacity and implementation of soil conservation structures. These findings show that addressing conditions that may inhibit financial incentives arising from reduced production costs and accessibility to source of support services would positively influence farmers to implement conservation farming and other sets of practices. An implication of the findings of this study is the need to increase farmers' awareness of soil erosion problem through the provision of knowledge and demonstration of gains and risk reduction characteristics of soil conservation practices. Recommendation included that, government and NOO's in the area need to consider empowering the farmers of Miriga Mieru West Division by providing training geared toward making farmers conceptualize the benefit of SC, establishing a farmers training centre in the study area and increase the extension staff to farmers ratio. The same organizations involve in the mission of farmers level resources capacity building in terms of incentives, tools and loans for farm developments.