Poverty is a critical issue in developing countries. It has become almost impossible to carry out any profitable agricultural production as a means of livelihood diversification in areas with small land acreage. Therefore, there is need to identify enterprises that can be incorporated into small holder farmers’ production processes. This study assessed the factors that influence small holder farmers’ adoption of mushroom for livelihood diversification from a sample of 240 smallholder farmers in Vihiga County in Western Kenya. Both descriptive methods and a binomial logit model were applied in the analysis. Results indicate that about three quarters of the farmers in the area were aware of mushroom production in the area and four fifth of them were willing to engage in mushroom production as a livelihood diversification option. Empirical results indicated that marital status, formal education, group membership, consumption of mushroom, availability of market for mushroom in the area, previous involvement/experience in mushroom production and total land acreage had a positive effect on farmers’ awareness of mushroom production. Age, gender, awareness level, consumption of mushroom and total land available had a positive effect on the farmers’ willingness to engage in mushroom production.
Key words: Poverty, land constraint, livelihood diversification, mushroom production.
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