Factors Affecting the Adoption of Conservation Farming Among Small Scale Farmers in Mapanza and Nangoma
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Conservation Farming Unit (CFU) has been carrying out conservation farming (CF) trials and advocacy to small scale farmers in Zambia since 1996. This was to assist those in severe drought prone areas to re-establish their food production base that had been negatively affected. CF is defined as several practices that permit the management of soil for agrarian use, altering its composition, structure and natural biodiversity as little as possible and defending it from erosion and degradation (ECAF, 2001).The overall objective of the study was to determine the factors that affect the adoption of CF among CFU small scale farmers in Mapanza and Nangoma agricultural blocks. A total number of 200 CFU farmers from twenty-four camps were interviewed using a questionnaire, focus group discussions and key informants. The data was coded and entered using SPSS. A regression was run and data was analyzed using the normit model by the use of marginal effects.From the findings there was a significant relationship between demographic variables (age, household size, level of farmers' education) and adoption of CF. The study found that an increase in the farmer's level of education leads to a 6% increase in the probability of adopting CF holding all other factors constant. There was a significant relationship between adoption of CF and perception of CF profitability. That is, an increase in the perception of profitability resulted in an increase in adoption of CF by about 13% holding all other factors constant. Another significant relationship between material incentives such as relief food and inputs was found. An increase in the number of Food Security Packs received resulted in a 14% increase in probability of adopting CF holding all other variables constant. On the other hand, the study found that an increase in age of a farmer resulted in 1% decrease in the probability of adopting CF holding all other variables constant while an increase in household members resulted in a decrease by 6%.Based on these findings, it is recommended that in fixture agricultural extension to small scale farmers through the extension staff should be promoted so as to increase adoption of CF. Since food security packs increases adoption of CF, mechanisms for targeting the packs to some farmers with potential should be developed so as to encourage them to adopt the technology. Perception of profitability is another factor that affected adoption of CF. In future, small scale farmers should be encouraged to grow cash crops such as cotton, and soy beans under CF which will help them to earn incomes.
- Agriculture