Gender Participation in Soil Fertility Management among Smallholder Farmers in Sabatia and Mbeere South, Kenya
Githome, Jackline Wangui
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The focus on improving soil fertility is a key concern in development today. Previously, Soil Fertility Management (SFM) was studied from the biophysical perspective with various paradigms dominating research and development studies. These approaches focused majorly on the external inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, and quality seeds) as well as farming techniques intended to maximize productivity such as mechanization. These methods have been criticized for failing to produce their intended objectives. Recently, research has emphasized on the need to adopt integrated soil fertility management practices which also considers the economic, social and cultural dynamics in the management of soil fertility. The study is focused on gender participation in the management of soil fertility in Sabatia sub-county as well as Mbeere South subcounty. The theory of change in agriculture by Ester Boserup was applied due to its emphasis on need to revisit agricultural practices to meet the demands of present and future generations. The study employed a cross-sectional design of survey. Simple random and Purposive sampling techniques were employed in achieving a sample of 384 respondents from Sabatia and Mbeere. The researcher used key informant guides, a focus group discussion guide, and an interview schedule as the research instruments to acquire the baseline data. Quantitative data in from the completed interview schedules was coded, cleaned and analyzed. This was done using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 21.0. Both inferential and descriptive statistics has been used in the study. The qualitative data obtained was analyzed qualitatively and presented through thematic description. Ethical considerations were adhered to during the study as well as ensuring the safety of the information. The findings of this study established that in Sabatia, female farmers practiced ISFM more than male while for Mbeere, male farmers practiced ISFM more than female. The study also revealed that there was no significant influence of land ownership and extension services in the participation of both female and male growers in soil fertility management. This study also established that more female farmers are likely to be in a farmer group as compared to male farmers. In conclusion, there was therefore need for sensitization of farmers to join farmer groups. There was also a need to increase the number of extension service officers in the two selected areas. The findings of this study may benefit farmers, academicians, and the realm of extension services and the broader Connessa project for instance in innovation platforms.