Accessibility navigation

Farmers’ mental models of soil fertility in a semi-arid area of Kenya

Yageta, Y., Osbahr, H. ORCID:, Morimoto, Y. and Clark, J. ORCID: (2022) Farmers’ mental models of soil fertility in a semi-arid area of Kenya. Soil Security, 7. 100065. ISSN 2667-0062

[img] Text - Accepted Version
· Restricted to Repository staff only
· The Copyright of this document has not been checked yet. This may affect its availability.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.soisec.2022.100065


Effective knowledge exchange between farmers and other stakeholders, such as agricultural extensionists and soil scientists, is essential for increasing opportunities for sustainable soil fertility management. To achieve this, it is necessary to understand local farmers’ conceptualisation of soil fertility. In a large body of works on local soil knowledge, the relationships of concepts constructing soil fertility knowledge and difference of knowledge among farmers have not been well documented. This study visualizes farmers’ perceptions of soil fertility as aggregated mental models which represent cognition. Aggregated mental models of fertile and low fertility soils were created from data collected from 59 farmer interviews at two villages in Kitui County, Kenya. The share of respondents of each concept were shown to analyse the knowledge gaps among farmers and between villages. The mental models revealed that farmers recognize the important roles of soil texture, water availability and farm management in soil fertility. Their knowledge related to their lived experience of the actual productivity of soils, which resulted in a strongly different perspective of fertile and low fertility soil. The differences of perception between the villages were also recognized as the result of differences in land availability. Although the farmers who mentioned soil processes were very few, farmers had the potential to integrate further soil scientific knowledge. Consequently, using the mental model approach to visualize farmers’ perceptions produced benefits by clarifying understanding of farmers’ knowledge and identifying gaps where soil science and extension work could help to expand farmers’ knowledge.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:105128

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation