Kenya Agricultural Research Institute Kitale Research Centre. Horticulture Research Programme Kari Kitale Annual Report 2007

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Kenya Agricultural Research Institiute
Soil nutrient depletion has often been suggested as the major biophysical factor contributing to decreased or stagnating agricultural productivity in Africa Fertilizers are used in much of sub-Saharan Africa, however the amounts applied are insufficient to meet crops demands due to high costs. Organic inputs are often proposed as alternatives to inorganic fertilizer. Low soil fertility is one of the major farming constraints within Kitale mandate region Due to the high cost of inorganic fertilizer, only limited number of farmers apply inorganic fertilizer, most cases lower rates than recommended, even on vegetables which require high amounts of inputs for optimal production. Legumes have potential to improve soil nutrients status through biological nitrogen fixation and incorporation of biomass into the soil as green manure. Some food and fodder legumes are known for nitrogen fixing ability, however their establishment with P fertilizers enhances nodulation and hence fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. Legumes can contribute to soil nitrogen through fixation of atmospheric nitrogen making it available to the subsequent crop in a rotation system. Rotating cabbage with legumes would have the advantage of reducing soil pest of cabbages and providing nitrogen for the next cabbage crop thus reducing the cost of mineral fertilizers and diversifying crop enterprises in the