Factors determining the use of botanical insect pest control methods by small-holder farmers in the Lake Victoria basin, Kenya
A farm survey was conducted in three representative administrative districts of the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB), Kenya to document farmers’ indigenous knowledge and the factors that influence the use of botanicals instead of synthetic insecticides in insect pest management. A total of 65 farm households were randomly sampled using stratified sampling procedure. The maximum likelihood log model was used to determine factors that influence use of botanical and synthetic insect pest control methods (PCM). Results revealed that female gender as household head (HH) and age significantly (P < .001) increased the likelihood of a household using botanical PCM in the field by 0.15 and 0.021, respectively. In storage, female gender and severity of pest infestation significantly (P < .001) increased the probability of a household using botanical insecticide by 0.814 and 0.738, respectively. On the contrary, education of HH (0.342) and ownership of title to land (0.512) significantly (P < .001) reduced the likelihood of using botanical PCM in the field, while traditional rank (0.910) and cash rank (0.744) of the crops reduced the likelihood of using botanical insecticides in the store. With respect to synthetic pesticides, gender (3.407), area cultivated (0.295) and expected yield (5.315) significantly (P < .001) reduced likelihood of their use in the field, while food rank (3.967) reduced the probability of use in storage. In storage, female gender, crop type, food and traditional rank of crops were also the most important factors determining the use of botanical control methods. In conclusion, the study established that female gender, literacy levels, wealth endowments in form of land and old age are key determinants of botanical insecticides use in small-holder farming systems in the LVB, Kenya. It is recommended that the Government of Kenya enacts policies that empower youth and female gender economically in subsistence farming with the aim of improving their educational levels and farming skills to modernize agriculture among the rural communities.
Key words: Botanical, Synthetic pesticide, Insects, Pest control method, Determinants, Small-holder farmers.