Participatory Technology Development For Soil Management By Small Holders In Kenya

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Ministry Of Agriculture
The aim of the study was to educate farmers through demonstrations and field visits on the importance of soil fertility in crop production with special emphasis on maize. Farmers were exposed to a range of locally available organic materials for soil fertility improvement. A multidisplinary team of researchers, farmers and extension officers were involved in the trials. Demonstrations were held on methods of making high quality compost and also collection and preservation of farm yard manure (FYM). On-farm trials using organic fertilisers and in combination with inorganic fertiliser were compared to determine their effects on maize yield. Soil samples collected in the farms indicated phosphorus and nitrogen deficiencies. Organic fertilisers were high in pH, available P and organic carbon. The highest rates of compost or FYM (10 tha· l ) gave yields that were significantly higher than control (P < 0.05). Where mixtures of organic and inorganic amendments on half/half basis were used, maize yields were not significantly (P > 0.05) different from recommended fertiliser (60 P20S and 60 N kg ha· l ) plots. This trend was observed in the second and third years. Combining organic and inorganic fertilisers is the best option of realising high yields in the study area.