Farmer participation and motivation for repeat plant clinic use: Implications for delivery of plant health advice in Kenya
Published: April, 2020
Plant clinics have been widely established in developing countries as a novel extension approach that provides demand driven plant health advice to smallholder farmers. This paper assesses farmer participation and motivation for repeat plant clinic use, and influence on pest management adoption decisions in Kenya. Cross-sectional farm-level data were collected from 259 farm households categorised as; none, one-time and repeat plant clinic users. Mixed multinomial logistic and multivariate logit regression models were used to jointly analyse farmer participation, and decisions to take-up pest management recommendations. Results showed that participation at plant clinics is motivated by farmers’ perceived value or success of the recommendations given, the main reason given by farmers who repeatedly visited plant clinics. Non-clinic users (33%) lacked awareness, while one-time users (26%) indicated that they adapted previous advice to other pests/crops thus found no reason to return. Pest management was dominated by pesticide use, which was also the predominant recommendation at plant clinics—considering that farmers mostly presented already diseased plants. At least 34% and 28% of repeat and one-time clinic users, respectively, embraced rational pesticide use and integrated cultural practices for pest control. Model results showed higher likelihood of adoption of a combination of pesticide and cultural practices by repeat clinic users than one-time and non-users, an indication of the impact of plant clinics on pesticide risk reduction through encouraging IPM practices. More advocacy and farmer awareness are needed to ensure plant clinics turn into well-known institutions providing sustainable plant health advice in the country.
Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.