KARI NHRC Thika Annual Report 2001

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
The Centre continued to address the main challenges in the horticultural industry during the year 2001. The main focus was development and commercialization of superior crop production technologies in collaboration with small scale farmers on fruits (banana, mango, passion fruit and macadamia); vegetables (tomato, cabbage, French bean and snow pea) and flowers (gladiolus, lilies, gerbera, arabicum and tuberose). The activities undertaken included germ plasm development, breeding and selection of superior fruit, vegetable and flower crops. Three promising breeding lines of passion fruit were developed and will be advanced to on-farm testing trials. Five cabbages, five French bean and five tomato varieties were evaluated with farmers who were able to select the promising ones. The private sector; seed companies, agents and stockists were involved in the evaluation process and have started marketing the farmer preferred varieties. The uptake of the tissue culture banana technology was enhanced through the formation of farmer field schools in new production areas which have the potential of impacting more farmers. There was an emphasis on the development of appropriate integrated crop and pest management practices (lCPM) in order to reduce the dependence on pesticides and environmental pollution. ICPM options were developed for the major export crops of mango, French bean and snow pea. Training of farmers and traders on post-harvest handling practices was intensified while commercial banana ripening techniques were developed. The ripening techniques have been adopted both by small scale farmers at farm level as well as traders in the urban areas.