Chronic food insecurity in Machakos and other semi arid areas in Kenya could be attributed to climate variability but mainly to soil nutrient decline. A lot of resources have been directed to smallholder farmers in drylands in the past but crop yields have remained low compared to surrounding on-station and commercial farms. Studies have credited these to use of blanket recommendations that disregards diverse adaptive power and agricultural systems of individual household, hence need for a farm specific approach such as Integrated Soil Fertility Management approach (ISFM). Despite ISFM’s novelty, few studies have been conducted to establish causes for its low usage. As such, a study was conducted in Mwania watershed in the Machakos County in 2015 to establish ISFM potential use by assessing the awareness and extent of ISFM use such as in-situ water structures, improved seed variety and micro dosing of fertilizers. A well delineted watershed of 5-10 km2 with 175 sampled (Households) was used in the study. Data were collected through a participatory survey, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. Results revealed that 85%, of the respondents were aware of improved seed varieties. In situ water harvesting and micro dosing were reported by 90 and 80% respectively. However, low adoption was majorly attributed to climate variability (89.7%), followed by high initial cost (80.6%) while small land holdings and intensive labor force were reported by 42.3% and 24.6% of the respondents, respectively. There is huge potential of ISFM usage, if only initial cost and labor demand were addressed adequately.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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