Impact of climate-smart maize varieties on household income among smallholder farmers in Kenya: The case of Embu County

John K. Wanjira, John I. Mburu, Felister M. Nzuve, Stella Makokha, Rosemary A. Emongor, & Catheline Taracha

Variability in climate and debility in soil fertility affect agrarian production, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and thus threaten food security. This has prompted the seed sector to introduce various varieties of climate-smart maize in Kenya and release them in the market. In contrast, there is little experiential insight into how the adoption of these varieties by small-scale farmers affects their household income. This paper used cross-sectional data to evaluate the implications of climate-smart maize varieties on small-scale farmers’ household income in Embu County in Kenya. The endogenous switching regression model was used to estimate the influence of climate-smart maize adoption on household income. Based on survey data obtained from 550 maize farmers in Embu County, the results show that age, education, land under climate-smart maize varieties, and distance to the market positively influenced the income level of the adopters. The findings further reveal that the decision to adopt the climate-smart maize varieties had a significant positive effect of about 60% on farmers’ household income. It therefore can be concluded from the results that the adopters would gain more from technology adoption. These results recommend policies that stimulate the adoption of current climate-smart varieties, with an emphasis on adoption by youths, to create more jobs and increase household income to reduce poverty among smallholder farmers in Kenya.