National Soil And Water Management Research Programme

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Dr. . Kilewe A.M
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The soil and water resources are the principal assets of agriculture in Kenya. The production of food, cash crops, and fibre depends on these resources not only for our growing population but also for export. The pressure to produce more is, however, growing proportionally with the rapid increase in population. The choice left is between opening up new lands or intensifying utilization of lands already under cultivation. The first alternative requires the extension of agriculture to the marginal areas where crop production is usually costly and uneconomical. These areas are characterized by (a) the greatest population change, (b) a bi modal rainfall pattern ranging from very low to 800 mm per annum, (c) a rainfall distribution that is unreliable and therefore present farming practices commonly lead to partial or total crop failure, (d) soils that are fragile and prone to dramatic decline in productivity, greatest erosion hazard due to poorer natural and human-modified vegetation cover, and (f) very low land value with low production per unit area.
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, p. 4-26