Abstract for: Low External Input Strategies for Sustainable Small-Scale Farming in Kenya - A Systems Dynamic Approach

This study sets out to assess the significance of the implementation of low external input strategies on small-scale farming households in rural Kenya. Data collected on two surveys was used to develop a conceptual model of the system and establish links between different internal components within it. This enabled relationships to be made between changes in soil nitrogen (a limiting physical factor to agriculture) and household incomes (a socio economic attribute). A system dynamic model was developed and used to test the influence of low external input strategies on small-scale farming under different scenarios. It is found that adopting low external input strategies or optimizing its practice could create several positive reinforcing feedback effects on small-scale Kenyan agriculture, and improved sustainability, on the expense of less cash crop cultivation and more food crops.