Diffusion of Innovation in Agriculture: A case of Eco-friendly Nets Applied to Vegetable Production in Kenya

par Patrick Muthee Ngore

Projet de thèse en Sciences économiques

Sous la direction de Martine Audibert et de Patience Mshenga.


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  • Résumé

    1.0 Background Information Like most other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Kenyan economy is predominantly agricultural. Agricultural sector accounts for 24.2% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, over 60% of exports, 75% of the total labour force and over 80% of industrial raw materials. Horticulture contributes 10% of agricultural production, and employs 2.5 million people (RoK, 2006). According to the World Urbanization Prospects (2006) the urban population in Kenya is expected to rise from 20% in 2005 to 30% by 2030. This makes the country have the highest urban growth rate in East Africa with a 4% rate of change of the urban population, which will lead to increased food demand. To meet this demand and improve farm profitability, farmers have increased pesticide use in agriculture. Eco-friendly nets are made of synthetic or natural fiber, and can either be chemically treated or not, the mesh of the netting can be varied to suit crop or other requirements. These nets are regarded as eco-friendly because they eliminate use of pesticide which has been found to be a major ecological pollutant. This innovation has been tried in various research stations in West Africa, East Africa and Europe. Efficacy of various netting versions in crop protection has been tested. For example, Martin et al. (2010) found that Broad mites and Spider mites, major pests of s. macrocarpon were completely controlled by dicofol treated nets. The efficacy of mosquito netting to protect cabbages against pests was also tested in Benin by Martin et al., (2006). 1.2 Statement of the problem and objective Use of eco-friendly nets will therefore reduce problems associated with pesticide use in agriculture. However, farmers’ perception and willingness to adopt this technology have not been investigated and quantified. It is also not clear how consumers will perceive vegetables produced using this technology and if they are willing to pay a premium for them. This study aims to asess farmer and consumer’s perceptions and opportunities in respect to eco-friendly nets and their produce, using a case study of vegetable farmers involved in eco-friendly net trials in Kenya. 2.0 Data and analytical methods The study will conduct a census of 120 farmers involved in the net trials in the counties of Nakuru and Kiambu in Kenya and interview 100 consumers of organic cabbage produced using eco-friendly nets. Interviews will be conducted with the help of a structured questionaire. The counties’ contribution to the samples will be proportonate to the number of organic cabbage farmers in each county. Consumers will be traced using snowballing method with farmers as the innitial point. To determine farmers perception towards eco-friendly nets, a perceptions’ index for all the farmers will be estimated using a five point Likert scale. This method has been used for such analysis by Vidogbena et al., (2012). Once the perception indices are obtained, they will be used as dependent variable in ordered probit model. This model has been used to address similar questions by Negatu and Parikh (1999), Veeman and Li (2005), Adekambi et al. (2010). To determine consumers’ perceptions and willingness to pay for organic cabbage, double–bounded contingent choice model will be used. The model will aggregate all the consumer responses to price levels for organic cabbages and consequently give a basis for calculating the mean willingness to pay. Double-bounded contingent choice model was first proposed by Hanemann (1985) and is preferred because it addresses the two responses simultaneously. The revealed willingness to pay will be used as a dependent variable in a binary Logit regression to determine perceived attributes and socio-economic characteristics on consumers’ willingness to pay for organic cabbages.