Drivers of adoption of Improved Maize varieties in Moist Transitional zone of Eastern Kenya
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Despite its role in food security in Kenya, maize deficit has increased in the recent years posing serious food security threat. This worrying trend necessitates careful review of adoption. The paper quantifies determinants of adoption and intensity of use of improved maize varieties in moist transitional zone of Eastern Kenya based on data collected between September and October 2013 from 314 farming households. Double hurdle model was used to estimate the determinants of adoption and intensity of use of improved maize varieties. Many of the institutional factors: extension contacts, farmer group membership, distance to input market and extension office were significant in explaining the probability of adoption. Fertilizer use, livestock and consumer worker ratio were identified as important farm characteristics in the adoption. Age was the only household characteristic that was associated with the likelihood of adoption. These factors were not important in the intensity of adoption. Intensity of adoption was explained by intercropping of maize and legumes, ownership of mobile phones, household size, remittances, confidence in extension workers and availability of seed of improved maize varieties. Given that different sets of factors determined the probability and intensity of adoption, considering the two decision processes for the purpose of identifying appropriate strategies for increasing productivity is critical. The results suggest strengthening of farmer’s groups, particularly innovation platforms, and extension services. Since distance to input and output market was factor in adoption, improving infrastructure would reduce transaction cost and encourage farmers to adopt modern technologies. Policies aimed at enhancing maize productivity and the adoption of improved maize by improving and maintaining the household asset base should also be central to food security strategies.