Determinants of Soil Fertility Information Needs and Access Among Smallholder Farmers in the Central Highlands of Kenya

Pamellah A. Asule, a Department of Land and Water Management, University of Embu
Collins M. Musafir, Department of Land and Water Management, University of Embu
George Nyabuga, Aga Khan University
Wambui Kiai,, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Nairobi
Felix K. Ngetich, Consultancy Department, Cortile Scientific Limited, Nairobi,
Christoph Spurk, Institute of Applied Linguistics, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Soil fertility decline is a significant challenge to the agroecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Accurate and demand-driven soil fertility information is vital for improving agricultural production. We achieved two objectives, i) identifying soil fertility information needs and access and ii) assessing socioeconomic determinants of soil fertility information needs and access among smallholder farmers in the central highlands of Kenya. We sampled 397 smallholder farming households in Murang’a and Tharaka-Nithi counties. We found high soil fertility information need indices among farmers in the two regions. The main soil fertility information needs for farmers in Murang’a County were knowing the correct method of manure application, knowing sources of information, and how to determine soil fertility levels. In Tharaka-Nithi County, farmers’ information priorities were how to apply conservation agriculture, knowing soil erosion control methods, and how to apply animal manure. We found mixed results on soil fertility information access ranging from low to high across different information items and study sites. The binary logistic regression results highlight the influence of farmer perceptions and other factors on soil fertility information need and access. To promote soil fertility information access, agricultural policies should consider site-specific information priorities and socioeconomic contexts.