Agricultural Research Centre Muguga South Annual report 2005

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Ministry Of Agriculture
Maize is the priority crop for a majority of Kenyans with an average per capita consumption of 125kg. The total land area under maize is about 1.5M Ha. 70-80 percent of maize is produced by small-scale farmers with an average on-farm production of 1.5-2.6 tons per ha. This is much lower than the on-station yields which range from 5- 8 tons/ha. Inherent challenges to increased maize production are; low productivitycaused by biotic and abiotic constraints, limited utilization of Agricultural technologies and improved seeds, low soil fertility, poor infrastructure and marketing policies. The goal of maize breeding program at Muguga is to develop maize varieties for mid-altitude areas of Kenya, which will contribute positively to on-farm productivity from the current 1.5-2.0 metric tons per hectare to above 4.5-6.0 tons per hectare and increase thereby increasing rural household incomes. This is accomplished by developing maize varieties with a high genetic potential, resistant to foliar diseases and pests, and other value added traits such as a high nutritional value. These hybrids must also fit in maturity groups of 100-120 days, 120-140 days and 140-160 days. Thus strengthening resistance breeding against the major pests and diseases through 1) Identification of genotypes with inherent resistance to maize streak disease, head smut and common rust; 2) use of elite inbred lines or populations in the formation of novel varieties and 3) the release of hybrids, open pollinated varieties (OPVs) and inbred lines resistant to foliar diseases will contribute in alleviating poverty in these areas.