Potato pest and disease management has been dominated by chemical pesticides, despite their potential undesirable effects on the environment, food safety and human health. This study explores factors influencing intensity of uptake of alternative pest management practices among potato farmers in Kenya, through a survey of 1,002 farmers in six main potato growing counties in the country. A Poisson count model was used to determine the intensity of uptake of alternative pest management practices. On average, farmers employed five practices: weeding, fertilizer application, recommended spacing, scouting, and crop rotation. Age of respondent (older farmers) and utilization of face-to-face and participatory extension approaches were significantly and positively associated with intensity of uptake of alternative pest control practices. Passive sources of extension advice such as radio and television were inversely related to uptake intensity of alternative pest control practices. These findings underscore the efficacy of agricultural information sources that are practical in approach, as they have the greatest potential to influence farmers’ adoption decisions. Mass communication methods create awareness and provide information at low-cost, but are not sufficient in triggering behaviour change when used on their own. There is therefore need to integrate them with conventional extension approaches to achieve the duo benefit of scale and adoption.
Keywords: Potato, Alternative pest management practices, Poisson count model, Kenya.
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