Social Factors Influencing Adoption of Grain Amaranth/Maize Intercrop among Small Holder Farmers in Kiminini, Kenya
Food insecurity is a real challenge to most populations in Sub Saharan Africa. Agriculture has been the single most important sector; however, most farmlands under cultivation have reduced significantly due to global population pressure on land. Declining yields per unit area has also been on the increase, hence creating food deficits in most countries. Trans-Nzoia County of Western Kenya, despite being the bread basket of Kenya has experienced a decline in production in most parts of the county with Kiminini sub-county on the lead. Grain Amaranth/Maize intercrop is one of the most efficient ways of optimizing on land use and availing good nutritional crop mix for the vulnerable households. This study therefore sought to determine the social factors influencing adoption of Grain Amaranth/Maize intercrop among smallholder farmers in Kiminini sub-county, Kenya. Cross sectional survey research design was used through structured questionnaire among 100 smallholder farmers from 5 wards of Kiminini Sub County. Data collected was subjected to descriptive statistical analysis and the binary logistic regression model. The findings indicated that the levels of amaranth cultivation by respondents were (79%). Those aware of amaranth/maize intercrop were (90%), however, only (53%) of the farmers practice the intercrop system. (41%) agreed that amaranth/maize intercrop provides nutritional value while (44%) of them agreed that the system increases yields. Respondents further reported that the intercrop system plays other roles like medicinal (60%), commercial (29%), animal feeds (10%) and manure (1%). Results further indicated that (45%) of the respondents accessed information on the intercrop via radio while only (1%) through newspaper. Results futher showed that gender gender (p<0.05) and level of education (p<0.01) had a positive significant effect on adoption of Grain amaranth/maize intercrop. The study therefore, concluded that besides factoring in gender when promoting agricultural technology, the study recommends the need for capacity building in agriculture on Grain Amaranth/Maize intercropping among the farming community. This will enhance the ability of the farmers who have attained formal education to understand and interpret the benefits associated with adoption of new agricultural innovations.
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