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Economic evaluation of soil fertility management in groundnut fields of western Kenya

AK Kipkoech
MA Okiror
JR Okalebo
HK Maritim


The Groundnut Research Project conducted on-farm research between 1997 and 2002 in three districts of western Kenya. The research activities at the project sites involved designing of new technologies, testing of these technologies through on farm trials involving all stakeholders and evaluating their impact. This paper provides the economic evaluation of soil fertility replenishing technologies (use of inorganic fertilizers, organic manure, and rhizobium inoculant) that were tested and recommended. Data on groundnut technologies used, yields, resource availability and use, and farmers' characteristics were collected through administration of a questionnaire to a sample of 332 farmers from the three study districts. The data was analyzed to determine whether adoption of the technologies would increase household incomes and production efficiency. Benefits and costs of each technology was computed through the use of budgets. Use of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium (NPK) fertilizers gave high benefit-cost ratios of 3:1 and 2.8:1 respectively. Organic manure had the lowest benefit-cost ratio (2.2:1) resulting from high cost of labor required to use this technology even in comparison with the yields obtained from the control. Use of rhizobium inoculant gave a benefit-cost ratio of 2.5:1. The technical efficiency of the farmers varied between 0.55 and 0.69 while labor allocative efficiency varied between 0.81 and 0.93. Farmers applying organic fertilizers only were technically more efficient but had lower potential yield compared to farmers who applied inorganic or a combination of organic and inorganic fertilizers. There is a high potential for farmers to increase their groundnut yields and incomes by improving on production efficiency and adopting the technologies. br>
Journal of Agriculture, Forestry and the Social Sciences Vol. 3 (2) 2005: pp.1-13

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eISSN: 1597-0906