Influnce of governmental policies and household characteristics on the adoption of agroforestry practices in Kiirua, Kibirichia and Ruiri wards Meru county ,Kenya
Murungi, Rita Kambura
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The land in Kiirua, Kibirichia and Ruiri wards of Buuri sub-county in Meru County is fertile and with a high rainfall, this has encouraged a concentration of population and farming leading to deforestation and soil erosion. Agroforestry practices can allow the farmers to grow crops without damaging the vegetation that provides a cover for the soil and also the trees can provide fuel wood, food and timber to the growing population. Despite government and non-governmental organizations efforts to encourage Agroforestry in the area, few farmers have adopted this technology causing the land to degrade further. This study aimed at studying government policies and household characteristics affecting farmers’ adoption of Agroforestry technologies. The objectives of the study were to: (i)assess how household characteristics influence adoption of agroforestry practices, (ii) establish how farm size influence the adoption of agroforestry practices, (iii) evaluate how training influences the adoption of adoption of agroforestry practices, (iv) establish how input provision to farmers influences the adoption of agroforestry practices, and (v) determine how collective action influences the adoption of agroforestry practices in Kiirua, Kibirichia and Ruiri wards in Meru County, Kenya. The descriptive research design was used. The study targeted 895 households in three wards of Buuri sub-county. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 268 households. Stratified random sampling technique was used, the study area was divided into wards and each ward formed the strata. The household were then selected at random in each stratum. Data were analyzed using descriptive (frequency distribution, means, mode and standard deviations) and inferential statistics (linear regression and chi-square tests) in a Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (IBM SPSS version 26). The results of the study indicated that the level of farmers of agroforestry practices was moderate (M=2.48, SD=1.90) on a scale of 1 to 5. The largest group of farmers had low level of adoption and these results were significant statistically (χ2 105.59, df, p< 0.001). No statistical significant (p>0.05) influences were found between the household characteristics (education and household size) and adoption of Agroforestry practices. Land size was found to have a statistical significant influence (β=0.365, t-6.392, p<0.001).Government policy factors were found to have statistical significant influences (p<0.05), specifically farmers training influenced (β=0.982, t=85.42, p<0.001), input provision to famers (β=0.327, t=5.644, p<0.001), and collective action (β=0.418, t=7.497, p<0.001) the adoption of Agroforestry by farmers. The study concluded that: Shortage of land, lack of knowledge, lack of collective action, training, monetary and physical inputs influenced the adoption of agroforestry practices in Buuri sub-county. The study recommended that the government organize sensitization forums on Agroforestry matters, train both extension officers and farmers and also to encourage farmers to form groups to ease in credit access and information dissemination.