Factors influencing the choice of conservation agriculture practices by smallholder maize farmers in eastern Uganda and western Kenya
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Poverty and high dependence on rain-fed agriculture renders smallholder farmers vulnerable to climate change induced disasters. As a measure for climate change adaptation, conservation agriculture was introduced to farmers. Conservation agriculture has both agricultural and environmental benefits which represent a fundamental change in the production system thinking. Conservation agriculture constitutes three principles: minimum soil disturbance, permanent organic soil-cover and diversified crop rotation. This study focused on determining factors that influence the choice decisions for conservation agriculture principles by smallholder maize farmers in Tororo and Kapchorwa districts in Eastern Uganda and Bungoma and Transnzoia districts in Western Kenya. Cross sectional data from 790 randomly selected households were collected to establish socioeconomic and biophysical factors that influence household decisions to participate in conservation agriculture. Data were analysed using descriptive cross tabulation statistics and independent sample t-tests. In modelling choice decisions, a multinomial probit was used. Results revealed that age, gender, household size, credit access, parcel size, geographical location, slope and soil type were significant factors that influenced choice decisions for farmers to participate in conservation agriculture. Farmers who engaged in minimum tillage reported lower labor requirement and input costs in maize production.