Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO

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Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO

City Square, Kenya
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Rodriguez D.,University of Queensland | de Voil P.,University of Queensland | Rufino M.C.,Lancaster University | Odendo M.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | van Wijk M.T.,ILRI
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2017

African farmers are poorly resourced, highly diverse and aground by poverty traps making them rather impervious to change. As a consequence R4D efforts usually result in benefits but also trade-offs that constraint adoption and change. A typical case is the use of crop residues as mulches or as feedstock. Here we linked a database of household surveys with a dynamic whole farm simulation model, to quantify the diversity of trade-offs from the alternative use of crop residues. Simulating all the households in the survey (n = 613) over 99 years of synthetic climate data, showed that benefits and trade-offs from “mulching or munching” differ across agro-ecologies, and within agro-ecologies across typologies of households. Even though trade-offs between household production or income and environmental outcomes could be managed; the magnitude of the simulated benefits from the sustainable intensification of maize-livestock systems were small. Our modelling framework shows the benefits from the integration of socio-economic and biophysical approaches to support the design of development programs. Our results support the argument that a greater focus is required on the development and diversification of farmers’ livelihoods within the framework of an improved understanding of the interconnectedness between biophysical, socio-economic and market factors. © 2017 The Authors


Wamari J.O.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Macharia J.M.K.,National Fibre Research Center | Sijali I.V.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development | Year: 2016

Green gram (Phaseolus aures L.) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L) are widely grown in the vertisols of the Mwea Irrigation Scheme in Kenya alongside the rice fields. Green gram can fix nitrogen and is grown for its highly nutritious and curative seeds while tomato is grown for its fruit rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins. The two can be prepared individually or together in a variety of ways including raw salads and/or cooked/fried. They together form significant delicacies consumed with rice, which is the major cash crop grown in the black cotton soils. The crops can grow well in warm conditions but tomato is fairly adaptable except under excessive humidity and temperatures that reduce yields. Socio-economic prioritization by the farming community and on-farm demonstrations of soil management options were instituted to demonstrate enhanced green gram and tomato production in vertisol soils of lower parts of Kirinyaga County (Mwea East and Mwea West districts). Drainage management was recognized by the farming community as the best option although a reduced number of farmers used drainage and furrows/ridges, manure, fertilizer and shifting options in that descending order. Non-availability of labour and/or financial cost for instituting these management options were indicated as major hindrances to adoption of the yield enhancing options. Labour force was contributed to mainly by the family alongside hiring (64.2%) although 28% and 5.2%, respectively used hired or family labour alone. The female role in farming activities dominated while the male role was minimal especially at weeding. The youth role was insignificant and altogether absent at marketing. Despite the need for labour at earlier activities (especially when soil management options needed to be instituted) it was at the marketing stage that this force was directed. Soils were considered infertile by 60% but 40% indicated that their farms had adequate fertility. Analysis showed that with ridging, farm yard manure and fertilizer improved soil fertility, crop growth and income considerably. Phosphate and zinc enhancement reduced alkalinity and sodicity. Green gram and tomato yields increased under ridges and farm yard manure application by between 17-25% which significantly enhanced household incomes.


Wanyama J.M.,Egerton University | Wanyama J.M.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Obare G.A.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Owuor G.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Wasilwa L.,Crop Systems Unit
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development | Year: 2016

In this study cross-section data was used to analyze the effect of farmers' demographic, socioeconomic and institutional setting, market access and physical attributes on the probability and intensity of tissue culture banana (TCB) adoption. The study was carried out between July 2011 and November 2011. Both descriptive (mean, variance, promotions) and regression analysis were used in the analysis. A double hurdle regression model was fitted on the data. Using multistage sampling technique, four counties and eight sub-locations were randomly selected. Using random sampling technique, three hundred and thirty farmers were selected from a list of banana households in the selected sub-locations. The adoption level of tissue culture banana (TCB) was about 32%. The results also revealed that the likelihood of TCB adoption was significantly influenced by: availability of TCB planting material, proportion of banana income to the total farm income, per capita household expenditure and the location of the farmer in Kisii County; while those that significantly influenced the intensity of TCB adoption were: occupation of farmers, family size, labour source, farm size, soil fertility, availability/access of TCB plantlets to farmers, distance to banana market, use of manure in planting banana, access to agricultural extension services and index of TCB/non-TCB banana cultivar attributes which were scored by farmers. Compared to West Pokot County, farmers located in Bungoma County are more significantly and likely to adopt TCB technology. Therefore, the results of the study suggest that the probability of adoption and intensity of the use of TCB should be enhanced. This can be done by taking cognizance of these variables in order to meet the priority needs of the smallholder farmers who were the target group. This would lead to alleviating banana shortage in the region for enhanced food security. Subsequently, actors along the banana value chain are encouraged to target the intervention strategies based on the identified farmer, farm and institutional characteristics for enhanced impact on food provision. Opening up more TCB multiplication centres in different regions will make farmers access the TCB technology for enhanced impact on the target population.


Murage A.W.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO
Crop Protection | Year: 2016

Insect pests are a key constraint to effective utilization of cereal crops in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with damage caused by these pests in the stores of particular concern. Although a number of approaches have been advanced for control of storage pests of maize, uptake remains a challenge, with effectiveness of some approaches being questionable. We conducted a survey in western Kenya among 330 respondents using face to face interviews and focus group discussions to evaluate farmers' practices, knowledge and perceptions of storage pests of maize, and their current practices in managing such pests as a basis for development of efficient integrated pest management (IPM) approaches for the pests. Majority of the respondents stored maize in traditional granaries, with less than 10% of them using modern improved facilities, mainly due to inability to afford these. Majority of the respondents also cited attack of their stored grains by a number of insect pests, causing about 40% grain losses. The larger grain borer, Prostephanus truncatus (Horn) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae), sawtoothed grain beetle, Oryzaephilus surinamensis (L) (Coleoptera: Silvanidae), and maize weevil, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), were perceived as the most common and damaging pests. Farmers' perceptions of pests were positively and significantly influenced by level of education and farming experience, indicating that education and experience build farmers' understanding of storage pests. Storing maize in unshelled form seemed to result in less pest attack, although majority of the respondents stored their maize in shelled form. Moreover, local maize varieties were perceived to be resistant to pests. The farmers applied various control methods, with sun-drying being the most popular practice. Usage of pesticides was minimal, mainly due to high costs, lack of information, and unavailability of appropriate and effective products. There were also other cultural methods applied, such as use of smoke and insecticidal plants. The respondents decried lack of training and extension services on storage pests and their management, underscoring the need to develop extension services. The underlying mechanisms of the perceived pest resistance in local varieties of maize and cultural pest management methods need to be established for exploitation in development of effective IPM approaches. There is also need to address the challenges hindering uptake of modern storage and control approaches. © 2016 The Authors


PubMed | International Institute Of Tropical Agriculture, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Institute dEconomie Rurale, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: Agriculture, ecosystems & environment | Year: 2016

Improved understanding of soil fertility factors limiting crop productivity is important to develop appropriate soil and nutrient management recommendations in sub-Saharan Africa. Diagnostic trials were implemented in Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria and Tanzania, as part of the African Soils Information Service (AfSIS) project, to identify soil fertility constraints to crop production across various cropping systems and soil fertility conditions. In each country, one to three sites of 10km10km were included with each site having 12-31 field trials. The treatments tested included a control, an NPK treatment, three treatments in which the N, P and K nutrients were omitted one at a time from the NPK treatment, and three treatments in which secondary and micronutrients (Ca, Mg, S, Zn and B) simply referred here as multi-nutrients, manure and lime were added to the NPK. The field trials were conducted for 1-2 seasons; the test crop was maize except in Mali where sorghum was used. Nitrogen was limiting in all sites and generally the most limiting nutrient except in Sidindi (Kenya) and Kontela (Mali) where P was the most limiting. The general pattern in Kiberashi (Tanzania) shows none of the nutrients were limiting. K is mainly limiting in only one site (Mbinga) although incidences of K limitation were seen in almost all sites. Addition of multi-nutrients and manure further improved the yields of NPK in most sites. Cluster analyses revealed that maize crop in 11% of fields were highly responsive to nitrogen application, 25% (i.e., 21% poor and 4% fertile) non-responsive to any nutrient or soil amendment, 28% being low responsive and 36% of intermediate response. This study indicates that constraints to crop production vary considerably even within a site, and that addressing limitations in secondary and micronutrients, and increasing soil carbon can improve response to fertilizers. For sustainable crop production intensification in smallholder farming systems in SSA, there is need to develop management strategies to improve efficiency of fertilizer use and of other inputs, recognizing the site-specific nutrient response patterns at various spatial scales.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Purdue University, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research EIAR and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: BMC plant biology | Year: 2015

The recently identified Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt) race TTKSK (Ug99) poses a severe threat to global wheat production because of its broad virulence on several widely deployed resistance genes. Additional virulences have been detected in the Ug99 group of races, and the spread of this race group has been documented across wheat growing regions in Africa, the Middle East (Yemen), and West Asia (Iran). Other broadly virulent Pgt races, such as TRTTF and TKTTF, present further difficulties in maintaining abundant genetic resistance for their effective use in wheat breeding against this destructive fungal disease of wheat. In an effort to identify loci conferring resistance to these races, a genome-wide association study was carried out on a panel of 250 spring wheat breeding lines from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), six wheat breeding programs in the United States and three wheat breeding programs in Canada.The lines included in this study were grouped into two major clusters, based on the results of principal component analysis using 23,976 SNP markers. Upon screening for adult plant resistance (APR) to Ug99 during 2013 and 2014 in artificial stem rust screening nurseries at Njoro, Kenya and at Debre Zeit, Ethiopia, several wheat lines were found to exhibit APR. The lines were also screened for resistance at the seedling stage against races TTKSK, TRTTF, and TKTTF at USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota; and only 9 of the 250 lines displayed seedling resistance to all the races. Using a mixed linear model, 27 SNP markers associated with APR against Ug99 were detected, including markers linked with the known APR gene Sr2. Using the same model, 23, 86, and 111 SNP markers associated with seedling resistance against races TTKSK, TRTTF, and TKTTF were identified, respectively. These included markers linked to the genes Sr8a and Sr11 providing seedling resistance to races TRTTF and TKTTF, respectively. We also identified putatively novel Sr resistance genes on chromosomes 3B, 4D, 5A, 5B, 6A, 7A, and 7B.Our results demonstrate that the North American wheat breeding lines have several resistance loci that provide APR and seedling resistance to highly virulent Pgt races. Using the resistant lines and the SNP markers identified in this study, marker-assisted resistance breeding can assist in development of varieties with elevated levels of resistance to virulent stem rust races including TTKSK.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Agricultural Research Council Small Grain Institute, Purdue University, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

We combined the recently developed genotyping by sequencing (GBS) method with joint mapping (also known as nested association mapping) to dissect and understand the genetic architecture controlling stem rust resistance in wheat (Triticum aestivum). Ten stem rust resistant wheat varieties were crossed to the susceptible line LMPG-6 to generate F6 recombinant inbred lines. The recombinant inbred line populations were phenotyped in Kenya, South Africa, and St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. By joint mapping of the 10 populations, we identified 59 minor and medium-effect QTL (explained phenotypic variance range of 1% - 20%) on 20 chromosomes that contributed towards adult plant resistance to North American Pgt races as well as the highly virulent Ug99 race group. Fifteen of the 59 QTL were detected in multiple environments. No epistatic relationship was detected among the QTL. While these numerous small- to medium-effect QTL are shared among the families, the founder parents were found to have different allelic effects for the QTL. Fourteen QTL identified by joint mapping were also detected in single-population mapping. As these QTL were mapped using SNP markers with known locations on the physical chromosomes, the genomic regions identified with QTL could be explored more in depth to discover candidate genes for stem rust resistance. The use of GBS-derived de novo SNPs in mapping resistance to stem rust shown in this study could be used as a model to conduct similar marker-trait association studies in other plant species.


Waruru B.K.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Shepherd K.D.,World Agroforestry Center | Ndegwa G.M.,Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology | Sila A.,World Agroforestry Center | Kamoni P.T.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO
Soils and Foundations | Year: 2015

Methods for rapid and accurate soil tests are needed for the index properties of material attributes commonly applied in civil engineering. We tested the application of mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy for the rapid characterization of selected key stability-related soil properties. Two sample sets, representing different soils from across Lake Victoria basin in Kenya, were used for the study: A model calibration set (n=135) was obtained following a conditioned Latin hypercube sampling, and a validation set (n=120) was obtained from independent sites using a spatially stratified random sampling strategy. Air-dried ground (<0.5 mm) soil was scanned using a high-throughput screening accessory for diffuse reflectance attached to a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer. The soil properties were calibrated to smoothed first derivative MIR spectra using partial least-square regression (PLS), and screening tests were developed for various limitation classes applicable in civil works using the soft independent modeling of class analogy (SIMCA). The hold-out full cross-validation coefficient of determination (r2)≥0.8 was obtained for the liquid limit (LL), linear shrinkage (LS), coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE), air-dried moisture content, (W) and cation exchange capacity (CEC). Further independent validation gave r2≥0.73 and the ratio of prediction deviation (RPD) 4.4-2.1 for LL, LS, COLE, W, CEC, plastic limit (PL), plasticity index (PI), and volumetric shrinkage (VS). The independent validation likelihood ratios for the diagnostic screening tests were: LL>55%, 4.2; PI>30%, 2.7; LS>12%, 2.4; exchangeable sodium (eNa)>2 cmol (+) kg-1, 2.3; exchangeable sodium percent (ESP)>10%, 1.8; W>8.3%, 1.6, and Activity number (A)>1.25 units, 1.5. MIR can provide the rapid assessment of several soil properties that yield stability indices in material testing for engineering land use. Further studies should test the ability of MIR PLS for establishing broader calibrations across more diverse soil types and the direct correlation of MIR to material functional attributes. © 2015 Japanese Geotechnical Society.


Mutoko M.C.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Mutoko M.C.,Wageningen University | Hein L.,Wageningen University | Shisanya C.A.,Kenyatta University
Ecosystem Services | Year: 2015

Ecosystem services provided by tropical forests are becoming scarcer due to continued deforestation as demand for forest benefits increases with the growing population. There is need for comprehensive valuation of key ecosystem services in order to inform policy and implement better management systems to enhance the supply of ecosystem services. This study estimates local economic value of key ecosystem services provided by Kakamega rainforest and examines how the information can support sustainable forest management in Kenya. This is the only rainforest in Kenya and it has exceptional biodiversity value including several unique species not found anywhere else in the country. Kakamega rainforest also provides a classic case of conflict between conservation and exploitation goals given the dense population around it. We carried out elaborate household and visitors surveys to collect data used to estimate the economic value of three main ecosystem services. We estimated the total economic value of key ecosystem services (excluding biodiversity value) at about US$ 7.4 million per year or US$ 415ha-1yr-1. The local economic benefits are considerably less than forgone returns from agricultural activities if the forest were to be converted to the best agricultural uses. Arguably, continued protection of this forest is justified on the basis of the unknown value of its rich biodiversity and capacity to sequester CO2. Empirical findings show that the existing forest management system was less effective due to resource constraints and institutional weaknesses. Our study provides insights for the need to manage this forest for multiple uses. We recommend an integrated management strategy that balances local resource needs with biodiversity conservation. We suggest that improved stakeholder collaboration can facilitate sustainable management of this forest resource. Besides, carefully crafted payment for ecosystem services mechanisms and broad environmental education programs can support sustainable forest conservation for this and other similar forest ecosystems in Africa. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Mutoko M.C.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | Mutoko M.C.,Wageningen University | Hein L.,Wageningen University | Shisanya C.A.,Kenyatta University
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) faces further population growth in the coming decades and it is essential to increase food production in rural areas. However, development programs to enhance agricultural productivity have achieved mixed results. This study investigates farm household responses to a changing agro-environment in one of the most densely populated rural districts in SSA and examines practical implications for the promotion of sustainable land management (SLM) practices. The specific objective is to analyze farm diversity and resource use efficiency and their implications for promoting SLM in the highlands of Western Kenya. We carried out an elaborate survey of 236 households, and applied multivariate analysis to analyze farm efficiency and livelihood strategies. We found major differences in responses to a changing agro-environment between five farm types in terms of resource endowment, income strategies and farm practices. Across farm types, efficiency was low indicating poor land productivity. Our study shows that there has been a lack of intensification in land use and that households are increasingly depending on off-farm income. Our findings have a number of implications to programs aiming to promote sustainable land management in SSA. We propose that successful implementation of such programs requires targeting areas highly reliant on agriculture and within these areas focus on households mostly dependent on farming to sustain their welfare. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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