African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6576

Full Length Research Paper

Factors affecting the adoption of agricultural innovations on underutilized cereals: The case of finger millet among smallholder farmers in Kenya

Rebecca Jerop
  • Rebecca Jerop
  • Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, P. O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Peter Dannenberg
  • Peter Dannenberg
  • Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany.
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George Owuor
  • George Owuor
  • Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, P. O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Patience Mshenga
  • Patience Mshenga
  • Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, P. O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Paul Kimurto
  • Paul Kimurto
  • Department of Crops, Horticulture and Crop Sciences, Egerton University, P. O. Box 536-20115 Egerton, Kenya.
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Maximilian Willkomm
  • Maximilian Willkomm
  • Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany.
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Gideon Hartmann
  • Gideon Hartmann
  • Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany.
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  •  Received: 29 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 27 July 2018
  •  Published: 06 September 2018

Abstract

Agricultural innovation adoption is fundamental in increasing incomes and food output in developing countries. However, the factors that influence farmers’ decisions to adopt innovations in underutilized crops are not well-documented. Underutilized crops like finger millet have been an alternative form of sustenance for resource-poor farmers especially in arid and semi-arid areas in Kenya. They are more nutritive and resilient to environmental extremes and harsh weather conditions than common crops like maize. The study presented sought to investigate factors that facilitate or impede the probability and level of use of different innovations (improved varieties, conservation tillage, integrated pest and weed management, and group marketing) on the production and marketing of these crops. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to survey 384 finger millet producers in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya. The study employed a multivariate probit to model simultaneously the interdependent adoption decisions of finger millet farmers and an ordered probit to determine the level of adoption. The results reveal that plot size, off/non-farm income, household credit, and extension contact positively influence the decision to adopt and the level of adoption. Technical training positively affects the level of adoption but negatively influences the probability of adopting some innovations. Awareness of these factors could allow the development of strategies, policies, and plans to increase the uptake and sustenance of agricultural innovations on the production and marketing of finger millet and could, consequently, contribute to the food security and incomes of finger millet farmers through enhanced productivity and marketing of the crop.

Key words: Agricultural innovations, adoption, underutilized cereals, smallholders, Kenya.