Determinants of Improved Maize Seed and Fertilizer Use in Kenya: Policy Implications
Maize is a key food crop in Kenya. While maize yields increased from 1.25 t ha-1 in early 1960s to over 2 tonnes in 1982, they fell below 1.5 t ha-1 in 2000. Given the limited land area, there is no doubt that Kenya will have to rely more on modern technologies for increased yields .Use of improved maize varieties and fertilizers will therefore continue to be critical inputs for improving productivity. To improve production, it is important to understand factors determining adoption and intensity of use of modern technologies. A stratified 2-stage sampling design was used to select 1800 households, subsequently interviewed by means of structured questionnaire. Econometric models were used to explore factors influencing adoption and intensity of use of the improved varieties and fertilizer. Access to credit was positively related to adoption and intensity of use of the two inputs. Extension contacts positively influenced the likelihood of adoption of improved maize seed, while amount of planting fertilizer used positively influenced both the adoption and intensity of use of improved varieties. Distance to market negatively determined the adoption and intensity of use of fertilizer. In addition gender and access to hired labour had negative impacts on the intensity of use of fertilizer. There is need to think of alternative sources of credit to farmers and also revamp the existing extension service (including privatization in the long term) for efficient delivery of information.
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