Assessment of Adoption of Farming Technologies among Maize Farmers in Yatta Division of Kitui County, Kenya
Kimondiu, Joshua Matata
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The need to enhance food production and the efforts by stakeholders to introduce newfarming innovations in addition to enhancement of agricultural extension servicesin farming areas of Kenya is largely under reported. This study was undertaken at YattaDivision of Kitui County to assess new maize farming technologies, diffusion andadoption by farmers in Yatta Division. Specific objectives were to identify maize farmingtechnologies that exist in Yatta, to identify factors determining observed preferences toimproved maize seed varieties, attitudes related to new farming innovations and to analyzechallenges that maize farmers face. Improved maize production in changing climaticconditions requires innovative interventions to mitigate the effects of such conditions.Data was obtained from 96 randomly selected maize farmers through the use of structuredquestionnaires. Data analysis reveals traditional maize farming methods to be the mostdominant (63.5%). Their adoption of improved maize farming innovations was low withthe use of improved seed being the most widely adopted (20.8%). Non-adoption due to farm size, soil fertility management, extension contact and labor saving technologies were statistically significant at p<0.05 an indication that challenges present constraining factors to adoption of maize farming innovations and the hypothesis that maize farmers in Yatta do not face challenges was therefore rejected. Chi-Square distribution reveal that there were significant differences in the levels of farm size (Chi-square test: df=2, p<0.05 (4.45957), soil fertility management (Chi-square test: df=l, p<0.05 (3.83787), extension contact(Chi-square test: df=3, p<0.05 (7.82453) and by labor saving technologies (Chi-squaretest: df=3, p<0.05 (7.92576) among non-adopters and adopters in relation to adoption ofmaize farming innovations. There were no significant differences in the levels of landtenure (Chi-square test: df=I, p<0.05 (0.10005733) and by education (Chi-square test:df= I, p<0.05 (1.26331). Afive-point Likert-type scale used to measure attitude to adoptionrevealed that superiority of hybrid maize seed over local seed variety recorded the highestpositive response (56) while the ease of process of adoption attracted the least positiveresponse (40). Chi-square test on specific attitude to adoption reveal that there was nosignificant differences between positive respondents in respect to hybrid seed and ease ofadoption (2.20905), extension contact and ease of adoption (0.1572993). The study pointsout that the tendency of many studies to consider innovation adoption in dichotomousterms (adoption Inon-adoption) may not be appropriate in many cases where the actualdecisions are defined over a more continuous range. More attention needs to be given tothe socio-cultural and institutional environment in areas studied so that their interrelation with economic factors affecting adoption can be inferred.