Review

Socio-economic and Institutional Factors Influencing Uptake of Improved Sorghum Technologies in Embu, Kenya

DOI: 10.1080/00128325.2019.1597568
Author(s): EL ChimoitaDepartment of Agricultural Economics, Kenya, CM OnyangoDepartment of Crop Science and Protection, Kenya, JP Gweyi-OnyangoDepartment of Agricultural Science and Technology, Kenya, JW KimenjuDepartment of Crop Science and Protection, Kenya

Abstract

Farmers’ socio-economic status and institutional support play a complementary role in influencing adoption of various improved agricultural value chain technologies. Despite considerable research efforts towards improving sorghum production and commercialisation to improve farmers’ socio-economic wellbeing in Kenya, a marginal number of farmers in arid areas are adopting improved technologies. The current study, therefore, evaluated farmers’ socio-economic and institutional factors influencing uptake of improved sorghum technologies in Embu County, Kenya. The study systematically selected 129 farmers from four villages. Data was collected on household size, daily expenditure, land ownership, land sizes, sources of capital, the number of farmers growing sorghum, market outlets, institutional services offered to farmers and production challenges. The study revealed that 51% of the households comprised of six to ten members, whereas 76% of the farmers spent on average three thousand Kenyan shillings (US$ 30) on a monthly basis. The study results also showed that 88% of farmers accessed extension services from government agencies, whereas 56% of the farmers accessed credit facility from private microfinance institutions. The study findings also revealed 48% farmers sold sorghum products to private agents, whereas 44% farmers sold their products on local market outlets. It was additionally revealed that 57% of farmers faced challenges in accessing credit services. There was a positive Pearson’s correlation (r = 0.43) between farmers owning individual land title deeds and the uptake of improved sorghum technologies with individual land ownership motivating farmers to invest in sorghum production. In addition, there was a positive Pearson’s correlation (r = 0.48) between farmers accessing financial training services and the uptake improved sorghum technologies. The training services significantly (p ≤ 0.01) influenced the farmers in embracing improved sorghum technologies. The study concluded that farmers’ expenditure, land ownership, financial training and credit support were the key socio-economic and institutional factors contributing to farmers’ uptake of improved sorghum technologies.

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