Smallholder farmers’ perceptions of agricultural extension in adoption of new technologies in Kakamega County, Kenya

Newton M. Nyairo, Linda J. Pfeiffer, Mark Russell


This exploratory study assesses factors that harness agricultural technology adoption among smallholder farmers in Kakamega County, Kenya by evaluating the key variables that influence sustainable adoption of agricultural innovations in the area. A survey was randomly administered in June and July 2018 among smallholder farming households in seven sub-counties (N=78) of Kakamega County. A logistic regression model, capturing factors presumed to influence the adoption of agricultural innovations, was estimated. Results suggest that even in smallholder farms, the farm size is important in adoption of innovations. Results also indicate limited or no farmer interaction (55%) with extension services. Farmers reported application of fertilizer and use of push-pull technology as less important in maintaining soil health. The regression model findings suggest that variables typically presumed to influence adoption in the literature are insignificant in this case study. The statistical significance of the farm size variable implies that agricultural extension messages can be tailored to a variety of farmer audiences for suitable adoption based on farm size. The diffusion of innovation theory remains a valid and relevant framework in studying adoption. This study reiterates the critical role that farmers or their environment play in the adoption process.


Technology adoption; Agricultural extension; Agricultural innovations; Food security; Logistic regression; Smallholder farms


Adolwa, I. S., S. Schwarze, B. Waswa and A. Buerkert. 2017. Understanding system innovation adoption: A comparative analysis of integrated soil fertility management uptake in Tamale (Ghana) and Kakamega (Kenya). Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 34: 313-25.

Ali-Olub, A. M., N. Kathuri and T. E. Wesonga. 2011. Effective extension methods for increased food production in Kakamega District. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, 3: 95-101.

Anandajayasekeram, P. 2008. Concepts and practices in agricultural extension in developing countries: A source book ILRI (aka ILCA and ILRAD).

Anang, B. T., S. Bäckman and T. Sipiläinen. 2020. Adoption and income effects of agricultural extension in northern Ghana. Scientific African, 7: e00219.

Aura, S. 2016. Determinants of the adoption of integrated soil fertility management technologies in mbale division, Kenya. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 16: 10701-14.

Bindlish, V. and R. E. Evenson. 1997. The Impact of T&V Extension in Africa: The Experience of Kenya and Burkina Faso. The World Bank Research Observer, 12: 183-201.

Davis, K. 2008. Extension in sub-Saharan Africa: Overview and assessment of past and current models and future prospects. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 15: 15-28.

Doss, C. R., W. Mwangi, H. Verkuijl and H. De Groote. 2003. Adoption of maize and wheat technologies in eastern Africa: a synthesis of the findings of 22 case studies CIMMYT.

Gautam, M. 2000. Agricultural Extension. The World Bank.

GOK. 2014. Household Baseline Survey Report: Kakamega County.

Howell, J. 1982. Managing agricultural extension: The T and V system in practice. Agricultural Administration, 11: 273-84.

Lionberger, H. F. and P. H. Gwin. 1991. Technology transfer: from researchers to users a textbook of successful research extension strategies used to develop agriculture University of Missouri, University Extension.

Mutua, F., S. Arimi, W. Ogara, C. Dewey and E. Schelling. 2010. Farmer perceptions on indigenous pig farming in Kakamega district, Western Kenya. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 19: 15-15.

Muyanga, M. and T. S. Jayne. 2008. Private Agricultural Extension System in Kenya: Practice and Policy Lessons. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 14: 111-24.

Mwangi, M. and S. Kariuki. 2015. Factors determining adoption of new agricultural technology by smallholder farmers in developing countries. Journal of Economics and sustainable development, 6.

Mwaura, G. G., M. N. Kiboi, E. K. Bett, J. N. Mugwe, A. Muriuki, G. Nicolay and F. K. Ngetich. 2021. Adoption Intensity of Selected Organic-Based Soil Fertility Management Technologies in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4.

Norton, G. W. and J. Alwang. 2020. Changes in Agricultural Extension and Implications for Farmer Adoption of New Practices. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 42: 8-20.

Nyanga, P. H. 2012. Factors Influencing Adoption and Area under Conservation Agriculture: A Mixed Methods Approach. Sustainable Agriculture Research, 1: 27.

Ochenje, I., C. Ritho, P. Guthiga and O. Mbatia. 2016. Assessment of farmers’ perception to the effects of climate change on water resources at farm level: the case of Kakamega county, Kenya 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249339, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).

Odulaja, A. and F. G. Kiros. 1996. Modelling agricultural production of small‐scale farmers in sub‐Saharan Africa: A case study in western Kenya. Agricultural Economics, 14: 85-91.

Ogada, M. J., G. Mwabu and D. Muchai. 2014. Farm technology adoption in Kenya: a simultaneous estimation of inorganic fertilizer and improved maize variety adoption decisions. Agricultural and Food Economics, 2.

Rogers, E. M. 2003. Diffusion of Innovations. In Diffusion of Innovations Free Press.

Suvedi, M., R. Ghimire and M. Kaplowitz. 2017. Farmers’ participation in extension programs and technology adoption in rural Nepal: a logistic regression analysis. The Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 23: 351-71.

Taye, H. 2013. Evaluating the impact of agricultural extension programmes in sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and prospects. African Evaluation Journal, 1.

Tittonell, P., B. Vanlauwe, P. A. Leffelaar, E. C. Rowe and K. E. Giller. 2005. Exploring diversity in soil fertility management of smallholder farms in western Kenya. Agriculture, ecosystems & environment, 110: 149-65.

Vanclay, F. and G. Lawrence. 1994. Farmer rationality and the adoption of environmentally sound practices; A critique of the assumptions of traditional agricultural extension. European Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 1: 59-90.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.33687/ijae.009.01.3510


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Newton Morara Nyairo

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.