An assessment of factors influencing adoption of improved mango varieties as an adaptation to climate variability in Kibwezi division, Kenya

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Ngulu, James Kinyae
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Farming in most sub-tropical Savannah regions in Africa is largely rain-fed. Literature review indicates that rainfall seasons have become irregular, long rains duration and intensity have decreased while temperatures have increased in the last two or more decades. Farmers need to adapt to climate variability by adopting agricultural technologies, such as improved crop varieties in order to maximise productivity. Farmers in Kibwezi have, for a long time, been growing local unimproved mango varieties that give low quality fruits instead of better quality and higher yielding improved varieties. There are multiple socio-economic and agroecological factors influencing farmers' adoption decisions, farm activities and hence crop yields. The aim of the study was to assess the factors influencing adoption of improved mango varieties as an adaptation to climate variability. Primary data was collected through a survey using simple stratified random sampling. The sample size of adopters and control group was determined by Cochran's formula. Kibwezi Division has about six hundred farmers of improved mango varieties out of which, 234 mango farmers (adopters) and 234 control group fanners (non-adopters) were sampled. Questionnaires were completed at farm level on socio-economic and agoecological factors influencing farmers' decision to adopt mangoes. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyse the data. Analyses used included descriptive statistics: frequency, percentages and mean. Associations of variables were tested using Chi square and r-test while relationships were done using correlation analysis. Results indicate that there was a significant association between adoption of the improved mango varieties and socio-economic factors including; the main occupation of the household head (X2=21.21, p=O.OOl),education level (X2 =65.64, p=O.OOl,membership to farmer associations (X2 =7.32, p=O.OOl),visit by - extension officers (X2 =7.32, p=O.OOl),source of information on improved mango varieties (l =2.64, p=O.OOl), age of the respondents (p=O.002), household size (p=O.024) and with size of land (p=O.002). Adoption of improved mango varieties was also influenced by agro ecological factors such as farmer's perception on rainfall fluctuations (X2 =2.21, p=O.OOl),farmer's perception of temperature variations (x: =2.21, p=O.OOI),awareness of availability of improved mango varieties (X2 =75.32, p=O.OOl)and availability of technical information on mangoes (X2 =2.11, p=O.OOl). Results also indicated that an increase in adoption of improved mango varieties leads to a significant increase in household incomes (r=O.336, p=O.OOl).The implication of this study is that the adoption of improved varieties is significantly influenced by both socio-economic activities and agro-ecological factors. The study recommends that there is need to put the above mentioned factors into consideration for successful adoption of improved mango varieties to take place which is anticipated to lead to an increase in food security as well as economic status of the households.
Department of Environmental Education, 84p. 2014, SB 379 .M2N43