chapter  12
Using local knowledge to understand challenges and opportunities for enhancing agricultural productivity in Western Kenya
ByMary Mutemi, Maureen Njenga, Genevieve Lamond, Anne Kuria, Ingrid Öborn, Jonathan Muriuki, Fergus L. Sinclair
Pages 19

This chapter explores farmers' local knowledge of the challenges they face in intensifying their farming systems, the livelihood strategies they employ to sustain their households, and the opportunities within these systems for enhancing agricultural productivity. It aims to combine local and scientific knowledge in order to design innovative interventions that are customized to local context and circumstances. The research was designed to inform activities being undertaken and planned by the CGIAR research program Humidtropics and its partners in Western Kenya. The main challenges discussed by farmers specific to some of the villages included: crop raids by wildlife; water scarcity; overexploitation of natural forests; firewood scarcity and small-scale gold mining taking labour away from farming activities. The chapter also provides a discussion around potential opportunities for positive change. It reveals the trade-offs between on- and off-farm activities, emphasizing the need for assessing the wider livelihood context and aspirations when agricultural innovations and interventions are negotiated with local communities.