Approximately 67% of the Kenyan population and approximately 80% of the poor live in rural areas, deriving their livelihoods from agriculture. However, agricultural productivity is low and diminishing; production declined by 5% and 2.3% in 2008 and 2009, respectively (World Bank 2009). While productivity enhancement and poverty reduction is a multifaceted challenge, adoption of modern technology especially in agriculture can play important role in poverty reduction. Successful technology adoption, however, appears to be constrained by a lack of access to information, and know-how, among others. Providing information and training on modern inputs and cropping practices and encouraging farmers to set goals can go a long way to adopt modern agricultural technology.
EA-MDA, in partnership with the Banana Growers Association of Kenya (BGAK), is taking concrete steps to solve the problems faced by small holder banana farmers. In Kenya, banana is consumed both as a fruit as well as cooked food, and it is an importance source of carbohydrates, essential vitamins and minerals. There are approximately 270,000 smallholder banana farmers in Kenya, and about half of them are women. To enhance the capacity of the farmers and FOs, EA-MDA will train farmers and FOs on aspects such as land preparation, planting and variety selection, weed control, harvesting, grading and post-harvest handling and record keeping.
The proposed study attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of EA-MDA’s interventions using a randomized control trial. The study will find the extent to which the interventions increase the rate of adoption of new technologies, productivity, and ultimately, farmers’ income. There is also growing evidence on various behavioural constraints in technology adoption and fostering income. Drawing on lessons from behavioural literature, we will also test the extent to which a nudge for goal setting may affect technology adoption will also be tested. This particular aspect is designed not only for assessing the underlying behavioural constraints in technology adoption but also for improving the program of our implementation partner.
In addition, the study will measure spill-over effects and social learning, which are often important policy parameters in themselves.
The proposed study will inform policy makers on how farmers and farmer organizations can learn to manage their operations and adopt modern technologies. The results of this study will fill an important gap in terms of information to feed into agricultural development and poverty reduction policy in Kenya and other developing countries.