Farmers’ attitudes and perceptions of adoption of agricultural innovations in Kenya: a mixed methods analysis

Newton Morara Nyairo, Linda Pfeiffer, Aslihan Spaulding, Mark Russel


Attitudes and perceptions are key constructs in decision making. Their nature and influence on agricultural technology adoption among smallholder farmers in Kenya has not been adequately researched. The research applied a mixed methods approach to assess the influence of attitudes and perceptions in adoption of agricultural innovations by smallholder farmers in Kenya. The quantitative phase used a survey (n=245) while the qualitative consisted of focus groups (n=28) to elicit subjective farmer views of innovations. A principal component analysis (PCA) technique reduced 14-attitudes statements to five conceptual clusters: challenges in accessing agricultural innovations (explained 19.09% of the total variance); effectiveness of agricultural technologies (11.88%); enjoyment of agricultural technologies (10.02%); social influence in use of technology (9.47%); and experience with agricultural technologies (8.13%). Qualitative analysis identified key themes: farmer ambivalence about innovations; economic benefits of innovation use; ease of use of technology encouraged adoption; lack of trust; and limited knowledge of innovations. Farmers' positive evaluation of technology did not encourage widespread adoption of innovations. Farmers were found to be poorly equipped to use innovations due to limited access to agricultural information and training supporting the use of innovations. The absence of trust between the farmers and extension agents aggravated the situation.


Technology adoption, Attitudes, Smallholder farmers, Principal component analysis, Mixed methods, Sub-Saharan Africa

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