The policy environment of conservation agriculture with trees (CAWT) in Eastern Kenya: Do small scale farmers benefit from existing policy incentives?
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Conservation agriculture with trees (CAWT) is an approach that combines conservation agriculture (CA) practices with those of agroforestry. One of the knowledge gaps that must be addressed to fully exploit the potential of CAWT pertains to policies favouring or discouraging its adoption among small scale farmers. The study hypothesized that disincentives exist more than incentives in existing policies for the promotion of CAWT among small scale farmers in Kenya. We identified policy incentives and disincentives promoting or hindering large scale adoption of CAWT among small-scale farmers in Kenya by reviewing six agricultural policies related to CAWT. In addition, 26 national level government officials and technical people were interviewed and 120 small-scale farmers were surveyed in Kibwezi and Meru Countries in Eastern Kenya. We found that policy compliance by farmers was influenced by direct personal benefits derived from adopting the policies rather than the external motivations that policy incentives provide. Furthermore, policies are often poorly implemented or not exclusively targeted to small scale farmers. Farmers believe that ‘indirect enabling incentives’ such as provision of improved extension services, security of land tenure and market development could offer the best motivation for them to adopt CAWT.