Communication factors influencing adoption of soil and water conservation technologies in the dry zones of Tharaka-Nithi County, Kenya

Abstract
Integrated soil fertility and soil water conservation technologies are possible solutions to the low per capita food production in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Nonetheless, the rate of adoption of these technologies by smallholder farmers has stagnated over the years despite being recommended. This has been attributed to the existence of wide communication gaps among researchers, extension agents, and farmers. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the influence of communication factors on the adoption of the selected technologies among smallholder farmers in the drylands of Tharaka-Nithi County. We used a cross-sectional survey design and collected data using an interview schedule from 400 randomly selected farming households. Binary logistic regression was employed for data analysis. Results showed that accessibility of extension agents after introducing the technology significantly influenced the adoption of combined organic and inorganic fertilizers (p = 0.056), mulch (p = 0.051), and Zai pit (p = 0.058). Similarly, practical orientation significantly influenced the adoption of combined organic and inorganic fertilizers (p = 0.001), mulch (p = 0.010), and Zai pit (p = 0.003). Information repetition significantly influenced the adoption of combined organic and inorganic fertilizers, mulch, and Zai pit at p-value 0.003, 0.001, and 0.001, respectively. Training was essential for mulch and Zai pit technologies at (p = 0.030) and (p = 0.001) respectively, while farmer group membership significantly influenced adoption for combined organic and inorganic fertilizers (p = 0.045) and Zai pit (p = 0.057) technologies. Extension agents should increase their interactions with farmers after the introduction of technologies. Equally use of demonstrations should be encouraged during the dissemination of these technologies among the farmers as they enhance the chances of adoption of the technologies.
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