The Influence of agricultural innovative strategies on banana productivity among smallholder farmers in Kirinyaga County, Kenya
Kairu, Esther Kanyi
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Increasing agricultural productivity is now a popular subject across nations as a result of increasing population and an increase in demand for food. Consequently, there is an urgency to adopt modern agricultural technologies which will affect the growth of agricultural output, especially among smallholder farmers. The adoption of innovative strategies to help boost banana production is still low and they are not readily visible in most smallholder farms. The study looked at key innovation strategies that influence banana productivity. Key focus being, water management strategies, soil management strategies, and banana plant management strategies and how they affect banana productivity. The study was underpinned by the theory of Diffusion of Innovation. A descriptive research design was applied in the study. Respondents were smallholder banana farmers drawn from three constituencies in Kirinyaga County namely, Kirinyaga Central, Ndia, and Gichugu. The study found that the level of innovative strategies in water management, plant management, and soil testing practices was low. On soil management strategies the study found out that soil testing practices are poor and hardly practiced by the farmers. Other soil management practices such as Mulching and, Intercropping had a significant influence to productivity while fertilizer did not significantly influence productivity. In the case of plant management, a very small percentage of farmers source their seeds from authorized dealers, they mainly recycle the tubers from their farms and neighbors. The study also found out that water management practices such as furrow technique and pumping had significant influence on productivity. Social economic factors such as being trained on banana farming and years of study had significant influence on productivity. Hence, a conclusion was made that farmers who adopt innovative strategies were likely to influence the overall productivity in their farms more so if the strategies are all adopted at once.