Development of tools and techniques for tilling and draining of vertisols for increased crop yield in arid and semi arid lands (ASAL) of Kenya

Macharia, J.M.K.; Muckle, T.B.

Conservation agriculture, a worldwide challenge First World Congress on conservation agriculture, Madrid, Spain, 1-5 October, 2001 Volume 2 offered contributions: 637-641


Accession: 003710222

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Traditional grazing of vertisols in arid and semi-arid regions of Kenya is giving way to arable cropping but waterlogging and flooding seriously reduce crop yields. Trials on drainage and early planting undertaken 1989-94 showed increased yields. These results were on small plots cultivated by hand tools but farmers use oxen and could not adopt these results. Research work to create drains and plant early with animal drawn tools conducted during the dry months late 1998 indicated that, due to the high draught caused by hard soil conditions, the drains could only be made during moist soils towards the end of the crop growing season. Finally a combination of two tools was found suitable for making the drains and one tool was developed for dry planting. The rains failed in 2000 but in 2001 the channels operated and the crops were superior to the non drained sites. Local artisans will be trained in the manufacture of the tools and equipment.