Farmers Perception and Adoption of Drought Tolerant Wheat Varieties in the Arid and Semi-arid Lands of Kenya
Wheat is an important cereal crop in Kenya and ranks second after maize in its cereal crop priority grown mainly in highlands parts of the country. About 20% of the country is classified as medium to high potential land ideal for wheat production. The limited ideal land for crop production has forced farmers to extend production in to the arid to semi-arid areas. Drought tolerant wheat varieties (DTV) have been developed for the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASAL) but adoption is generally low. Production has therefore lagged behind in meeting national demand resulting in importation in order to bridge the gap. This study was therefore designed to describe and determine farmer perception and adoption of drought tolerant wheat varieties by assessing socio-economic factors influencing adoption of DTV in the (ASALs) areas of Kenya. A sample size of one hundred and eight (108) wheat farmers from Ololung’a division of Narok and Isinya division of Kajiado districts respectively were randomly selected. The collected data was analyzed using SPSS version 12 for windows. Descriptive statistics like frequency distribution and inferential statistics like Chi-square and T-test were used. Farmer perception on drought tolerant wheat varieties was very low (0.9%) with majority of the farmers (77.8%) being uncertain of the objective of drought tolerant wheat varieties as a technology and its benefits. Eighty seven point nine percent (87.9%) of the farmers identified input cost as a major constraint and 85.1% lacked the relevant information. Opportunities for adoption cited by 91.6% of the respondents included the availability of the appropriate technology. There was no significant difference in perception between the farmers of Narok and Kajiado districts. However, there were significant differences in adoption levels by farmers with the average percentage for Narok mean of 1.58 being higher than Kajiado mean of 1.33 with a t-test value of -2.497; (P<0.014; α=0.05. Age, gender, and education did not have any statistical significance relationship in the adoption of DTV but farm size, land tenure system and extension services were statistically significant. It is therefore recommended that extension services be given great emphasize in the ASAL of Kenya.