Agricultural extension officers' perceptions of integrated pest management and significance in small scale farming in Kenya
AbstractIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) is recommended in both developed and developing countries as a sustainable approach to pest management in agriculture. In adoption of IPM technologies, the use of chemical pesticides is expected to reduce resulting in positive gains in human and environmental health while still maintaining agricultural productivity. The introduction and adoption of IPM among farmers in Kenya would require that extension officers be closely involved in guiding the farmers in the implementation process. Views of the extension officers regarding IPM and its underlying principles are, therefore, crucial because of their important task as educators. The purpose of this study was to describe the perceptions of Kenyan agricultural extension officers regarding IPM. The study was conducted among extension officers and data for the study was collected from 193 extension officers in the Central and Eastern provinces of Kenya. The results showed that the extension officers were positive about the various concepts suggested in IPM. The extension officers further believed that IPM has the potential to contribute effectively in pest management by the majority of small scale farmers in Kenya. The extension officers viewed crop rotation, a cultural practice, to be of priority use in pest management. Most of the other IPM practices were considered practical in maintaining agricultural productivity. On the basis of the positive perceptions of the extension officers regarding IPM, the government of Kenya should establish a supportive policy that will enable the extension officers to promote and educate farmers on the various IPM practices.
International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 7(2) 2006: 125-133