Socio-Economic determinants of sustainable land management practices among smallholder farmers in Sabatia sub-county, Kenya
This study investigated the socio-economic factors that determine farmers' decision to use sustainable land management practices (SLMP) – agroforestry, terracing, and manure use - aimed at achieving long-term agricultural productivity in Sabatia Sub-County, Kenya. Four specific objectives were addressed, namely: (a) to identify the SLMP in the study area; (b) to assess the effects of farmers' social characteristics on their use of SLMP; (c) to examine the effects of farmers' economic characteristics on their use of SLMP; and to establish the impact of use of SLMP on agricultural productivity in the study area. The study was guided by two hypotheses that is (i) there is no significant relationship between farmer‟s social characteristics and use of SLMP. (ii) there is no significant association between farmer's economic characteristics and adoption of SLMP. A multi-stage random sampling technique was applied in selecting farmers to be used in the study. A sample size of 125 farmers cultivating undulating farms which were deemed most vulnerable to land degradation was tested in the clusters that were selected. Primary data for the study was collected through household questionnaire surveys, key informants interviews, and personal observations while secondary data was obtained from relevant published and unpublished reports and records. Data was analyzed by the use of mean, frequency count, percentage, simple regression, chi-square (χ2) test and stepwise multiple regression analysis. The study established that smallholders'; membership to farmers' group(s) gender and farming experience (r = 0.420)had an influenced on their use of manure while; farm size, annual income, and level of education did not affect the use of manure among small-scale farmers in Sabatia. Farmers‟ decision to use terraces and agroforestry was determined by; farm size (r = 0.218), annual income (r = 0.364), gender, level of education (r = 0.258) and membership to farmers‟ group(s). The farming experience of the peasants, however, did not have an impact on terraces and agroforestry in the study area. Use of sustainable land management practices (SLMP) positively impacted on agricultural productivity in the study area The study recommends the need for the government through agricultural extension officers to mobilize smallholders to embrace the use of SLMP so as to boost their agricultural productivity. The study further suggests the need to involve both female and male household heads in the uptake of agroforestry and terracing. It also recommends the need to boost access to formal education so as to improve farmers' awareness and use of SLMP. The study also found out that smallholders should engage more in income generating activities which are likely to translate into improved use of SLMP. Smallholders are encouraged to join farmers' groups to improve their awareness and adoption of SLMP. Initiatives that are aimed at popularizing the use of alternative sources of wood fuel should be encouraged to reduce deforestation by the smallholders.
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