The Role of Biological Technologies in Land Quality Management: Drivers for Farmer’s Adoption in the Central Highlands of Kenya
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We established hedges of calliandra, leucaena, napier, and their combinations along the contours on slopes of between 5 and 40% as options for soil and nutrient management on steep arable landscapes. Hedge biomass was harvested after every 2 months following proper hedge establishment and incorporated into the plots that were served by specific hedges. After 2.5 years farmers–research group interactions were terminated and farmers were left to continue independently. Three years later the region was surveyed for adoption rates, adoption drivers, and technology adaptation. We consistently observed significantly higher soil pH, exchangeable bases (Ca and Mg), and C in both sole leguminous hedge treatments and combination hedges at time 22 months in comparison to time 0 months (P < 0.0001). Consistent significant erosion differences between hedges were observed during the fifth season on slopes exceeding 10% (P < 0.05). Farmers’ adaptations of hedges ranged from changes in type of trees used, contour hedge tree arrangement patterns, and frequency of pruning of hedge trees. The Logit model was significant at 10% level and predicted 72% of both adopters and non-adopters. The variables farmers’ contact with extension agents, education level, farm income, livestock numbers, land size, membership to group or cooperative, sex, and age were significant in explaining contour hedge adoption. We conclude that contour hedges are capable of reducing soil losses and improving crop production and that households that have more educated heads with more livestock and higher farm income are more likely to adopt contour hedge technologies.