Soil fertility mangement in maize -based production systems in kenya: current options and future strategies. Integrated Approaches to Higher Maize Productivity in the New Millennium
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This paper analyzed the salient factors that affect the adoption of soil fertility management (SFM) technologies in the marginal and medium potential zones of Eastern and Western Kenya, respectively. Data from a survey of 120 smallholder maize farmers from each zone was nalyzed using discrete choice (Multinomial logit and Tobit) models. Parameter estimates showed that farmers' resource endowments, costs of SFM technologies, access to cash and labour resources and human capital factors were significant in determining the uptake of SFM technologies. anure use was restricted to livestock owners suggesting lack of viable alternatives and markets for the input. In the medium potential zone, 52 percent of the farmers were adopters of fertilizer but 70 percent of these adopters applied less than 15 kg N/ha against recommended levels f 55 kg/ha. Thirty-six per cent of the farmers in the marginal zone were adopters of fertilizer and applied an average of 8.6 kg N/ha against a recommended level of 50 kg N/ha. The foregoing results show that resource poverty coupled with low returns to SFM technologies' use were rominent reasons behind their sub-optimal adoption. Maize sector policy interventions should emphasize the provision of sustainable credit and development of low-cost SFM techniques for smallholder farmers in Kenya.