Socioeconomic Determinants of Adoption of Eco-Friendly Farming Practices in Agroecosystems of Embu County, Kenya
Agriculture is one of the economic activities that not only depends on and influences a number of environmental resources including water, land and biodiversity as well as production technologies and management skills. Given the vast global area under agriculture, the influence of agriculture on overall environmental sustainability cannot be overlooked. Environmental challenges such as pollution, soil erosion, soil acidification, low agricultural production and unsustainability of the agricultural ecosystems, have been associated with conventional farming practices. To address these environmental challenges, environmentalists have mooted Eco-friendly Farming Practices (EFFPs) as possible alternatives to the conventional farming approaches that have been greatly associated with the aforementioned challenges. This study was conducted among households of Embu County in Kenya to determine the socio-economic factors that influenced adoption of EFFPs. Earlier studies had indicated clearly that Embu County was experiencing soil erosion, pollution and soil acidification, yet EFFPs had been introduced to counter these environmental challenges. Therefore, the study sought to find out the influence of socioeconomic factors on adoption of the EFFPs. Ex post facto research design was used. Through multi-stage random sampling 402 household heads were selected and all the 32 extension officers in the area were interviewed. Average income from agriculture, gender, farming experience, level of education, size of the farm and age were statistically significant (at 5% significance levels) in influencing adoption of EFFPs among households of Embu County. The study concluded that the socioeconomic factors were significant in influencing adoption of EFFPs among households of Embu County. This implies that the household socioeconomic characteristics must be considered in designing effective environmental sustainability programmes in the County.