About 60% of the population in South Eastern Kenya is estimated to be below the poverty line, with majority of the poor living in rural areas, where agriculture is the main source of livelihood. Most of the impoverished areas are largely semi-arid with a predominant smallholder, rain-fed agricultural production system. Farming is perennially constrained by low and erratic rainfall, low soil fertility and use of poor seeds which results in low yields, aggravating poverty. Improved pigeon pea varieties have been developed and disseminated in South Eastern Kenya to increase productivity and reduce household poverty. However, its adoption has been low and there is paucity of information on the impact of its adoption on household poverty. The objectives of this study were to assess the factors influencing adoption of improved pigeon peas in Machakos, Kibwezi west and Mutomo sub-Counties and to evaluate the impact of adoption on households’ poverty. Cross sectional data were collected from which determinants of adoption were established. Propensity score matching approach was used to assess the impact of adoption on poverty. The results showed that farmers’ access to improved pigeon pea seed, contact with agricultural extension service providers and access to market information significantly influenced adoption (p< 0.001). Adopters and non-adopters got an average net farm income of KES 27,570 and 12, 790 per acre per year, respectively. Adoption resulted in a decrease of head count poverty by 0.24% and a reduction in poverty gap and poverty severity by 0.30% and 0.20 %, respectively. The results suggest that farmers adopt a technology when there is easy access to the required inputs, technical advice on implementation and reliable market information for the output. The results also showed that adoption of improved pigeon pea was associated with reduction in household poverty.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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