Legume Research Network Project Newsletter

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Date
2003
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Kenya Agriculture Research Institute
Abstract
The average on-farm yield of maize in coastal lowland Kenya is only about 1.0 tons of grain per hectare, whereas yields of up to 5.4 t ha-1 have been realized on-station. Several surveys and PRAs conducted in the region identified the following constraints to crop production: low soil fertility, soils with low water holding capacity, weed infestation, pests and diseases, and low adoption of agricultural technologies. Low soil fertility was identified as one of the most important factors contributing to the low maize yields. Most soils in the region are sandy (> 80% sand), with a few pockets of sandy loams and clay loams. Due to their sandy nature, the soils in the region are prone to leaching. They have low organic matter content « 1.0 %) and low CEC « 15 me/l00 g soil). As a result of low household incomes, less than 10% of the farmers in the region use inorganic fertilizers to improve soil fertility. Use of inorganic fertilizers is, therefore, not a sustainable method of improving soil fertility in coastal lowland Kenya.
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