Regional Research Centre - Mtwapa

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Ministry Of Agriculture
A survey was carried out using Panicipatory Rural Appraisal tools to identify local practices for managing soil fenility in the semi-humid zones of Coast Province. A total of 256 farmers (136 men and 120 women) were interviewed in 12 representative locations of Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu Districts. Results revealed that farmers classify soils on basis of colour and soil texture (stickiness). They attribute characteristics to each type of soil and use plant indicatorS to detect high or low soil fenility. Farmers at the coast are aware of declining soil fenility in all soils except in the heavy clay soils. Indigenous methods that are commonly used by farmers to improve soiLfenility include: 1) intercropping, relay cropping or rotation with leguminous crops (e.g. cowpeas); 2) incorporation of plant residues; 3) fallowing 4) use of compost and household sweepings; and 5) use of organic manure. Use of mineral fenilizers is rare: they are only used in the more productive locations and crops. On the basis of the findings of the PRA, some soil fenility management technologies are suggested for on-farm testing.