- About Us
- Research Programmes
- Animal Health Research Programme
- Animal Production Research Programme
- Biotechnology Research Programme
- Food Crops Research Programme
- Horticultural and Industrial Crops Research Programme
- Natural Resource Management Research Programme
- Range Management Research Programme
- Regional Adaptive Research Programme
- Socioeconomics and Biometrics Research Programme
- Seed Research Programme
- Other programmes
- Agricultural Research Investment Services
- Information Management and Communication Technology
- Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit
- Technology Packaging and Transfer
- World Bank Supported Programmes
- Research Programmes
- KARI Center Network
- KARI Biotechnology Center
- KARI Embu
- KARI Garissa
- KARI Headquarters
- KARI Kabete
- KARI Kakamega
- KARI Katumani
- KARI Kiboko
- KARI Kibos
- KARI Kisii
- KARI Kitale
- KARI Lanet
- KARI Marsabit
- KARI Molo
- KARI Mtwapa
- KARI Muguga North
- KARI Muguga South
- KARI Muguga TRC
- KARI Mwea
- KARI Naivasha
- KARI Njoro
- KARI Perkerra
- KARI Thika
- KARI Tigoni
About KARI Katumani
KARI-Katumani is one of the centers managed from the KARI-HQ.
The KARI-Katumani main Centre (1º35'S: 37º14'E) is in Machakos District at 1600m. It is about 80 km south east of Nairobi and 8 km South of Machakos town along the Machakos-Wote road.
The Centre experiences a semi-arid tropical climate described as agroecological zone (AEZ) IV, with a bimodal pattern of rainfall. The 1st (long) rains fall between March and May, with the peak in April. They are followed by a dry period that extends to mid-October. The 2nd (short) rains begin in mid-October, peak in November and taper off towards mid-December. Analysis of 47 years (1957-2003) rainfall data shows that the mean annual rainfall at Katumani is 655 mm. The average seasonal rainfall for the long rains is 272 mm while that for the short rains is 382 mm. Both the seasonal and the annual rainfall totals vary widely. The mean maximum temperature is 24.7ºC while the mean minimum temperature is 13.7ºC.
Frequency of drought (<250 mm rainfall)
The mean annual rainfall at Katumani is 655 mm
2. Centre mandate
2.1 Mandate region
The Centre is mandated to carry out research and development programmes in Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Mwingi and Taita Taveta Districts. The districts cover a total land area of 6.2 million hectares out of which 3.9 million is agricultural land comprising of 492,000 farm households with a human population of 2.7 million as per the census report of 1999. Most of the area is characterized by low and erratic rainfall, frequent droughts, high temperatures and soils of low fertility and weak physical structures.
An ecoregional study by KARI between 2000 and 2001 ranked priority enterprises in the region as maize, pulses, dairy, beef, sorghum, millet, poultry, vegetables, sheep and goats.
To effectively discharge the above mandate and address the needs of its clientele, the Centre has 5 sub-Centres and numerous experimental sites. The sub-Centres are Voo and Ithookwe in Kitui District, and Masongaleni, Kampi-ya-Mawe and Kiboko in Makueni District to facilitate on-station technology testing under different climatic conditions.
KARI-Kiboko is situated between Emali and Makindu along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway. It plays a pivotal role in breeding of dryland crops and seed multiplication. It serves as a variety testing and seed bulking site due to its all-year-round irrigation facilities. Activities currently undertaken at Kiboko include:
a) Maize breeding for drought tolerance, pests and diseases resistance and low nitrogen varieties
b) Sorghum and millets breeding
c) Marker-assisted breeding in maize and sorghum
d) Grain legumes breeding and varietal evaluation
e) Seed bulking and seedling propagation
f) Tissue culture banana evaluation and screening
The activities are carried out in collaboration with CIMMYT, ICRISAT and other stakeholders. To implement its intended objectives, the Centre coordinates the following Programmes.
2.2 Research mandate
KARI-Katumani has a mandate for Adaptive and Research and Development Programme for all the districts. It seeks to identify and promote adoption of appropriate technologies to increase productivity of the main commodity enterprises in a sustainable manner, while addressing issues related to effective and efficient utilisation and conservation of natural resources. The Centre focuses on sustainable agricultural production opportunities in dry (semi-arid) mixed farming areas.
The research mandate may be summarized as follows:
a) Development of technologies for soil and water management for the dry farming areas
b) Improvement of crop varieties (maize, sorghums, millets, beans, cowpeas, pigeon peas, green grams, cassava and sweetpotatoes) which tolerate various stresses including high temperatures, low and erratic soil moisture levels, low soil fertility, and pests and diseases which are prevalent in the area
c) Developments of strategies for all-year-round feed, management and health requirements for sustainable breeds of livestock
3.1Soil and water management
The main goal of the Programme is to develop appropriate soil and water management technologies for more efficient use of land resources in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The major thrusts of the Programme are soil fertility, soil and water conservation/harvesting, tillage and small-scale irrigation.
3.2 Maize improvement
The Programme seeks to assemble and evaluate maize germplasm, and develop varieties that are resistant to abiotic (drought, heat, and edaphic factors) and biotic factors (including stem borers, weevils, larger grain borer, aphids, maize streak and head smuts) stresses. It also develops sustainable husbandry (agronomic) technologies that maximise yields at both low and optimal input levels.
3.3 Sorghums and millets
The objective of the Programme is to assemble and evaluate sorghum and millet germplasm, and develop varieties that are resistant to abiotic (drought, heat and edaphic factors) and biotic (including stem borers, kernel covered smuts, aphids, charcoal rot, head smuts and foliar diseases) stresses. It also develops sustainable husbandry technologies that maximise yields at low input levels.
3.4 Grain legumes
The Programme seeks to assemble and evaluate grain legume (beans, cowpea, pigeon pea, green grams) germplasm and develop varieties that are resistant to abiotic (drought, heat and edaphic factors) and biotic (including pod borers, pod suckers, bean maggots, aphids, fusarium wilt, charcoal rot, anthracnose, bacterial blight and BCMV) stresses. It also develops sustainable husbandry technologies that maximize yields at low input levels.
3.5 Roots and tuber crops
The Programme aims to assemble and evaluate roots and tuber crops (sweetpotatoes and cassava) germplasms, and develop varieties that are resistant to abiotic (drought, heat and edaphic factors) and biotic (including sweetpotato weevil, sweetpotato mottle virus, cassava mealy bugs, green mites, aphid stem scales and cassava mosaic virus) stresses, and to develop sustainable husbandry technologies that maximise yields at low input levels.
3.6 Oil crops
This Programme aims at increasing the cultivation and production of oil crops (including sunflower, safflower, soya bean, groundnuts and castor) through development of high yielding varieties and their agronomic packages.
The Programme conducts research in fruit trees (mangoes, citrus, bananas and macadamia), vegetables (amaranthus [Woa], Black night shade [Ndulu], Spider plant [sake] and Crotalaria) and alternative (new and emerging) crops including Aloe (Kiluma), muringa (Drum stick) that are suitable for production in the drylands. Above all, the Programme aims at commercialising these products by researching on how they can be processed at village level.
3.8 Crop protection
The Programme aims to develop and evaluate sustainable technologies for managing and controlling common pests and diseases that infect crops.
The Programme seeks to identify mapping genes in cereals, root crops and legumes for water use efficiency responses using molecular markers, and to develop and validate drought tolerant cereals, grain legumes and root crops.
The KARI Seed Unit was started in 1997. The main purpose of the Katumani component is to avail quality seeds of improved dryland crops varieties and planting materials. The Programme maintains pre-released and released parental lines varieties, population and stocks; multiplies seed of breeder, pre-basic and basic classes; assists farmers to produce more seed for their own use and sell; develops a self-sustaining seed unit system in KARI and avails planting stocks of improved fruit trees seedlings to farmers.
3.11 Food technology (utilisation)
The Programme seeks to develop/improve the processing and utilisation of traditional food crops such as sorghum, millet, pigeon peas, cassava and sweetpotatoes.
3.12 Feed resources
The Programme evaluates and develops pasture and forage agronomic practices and production systems for small-scale farmers.
The Programme aims at developing an integrated all-year-round feeding system which synchronises lactation periods with those of optimal forage quality, to maximise milk production with minimum use of commercial concentrates.
3.14 Small ruminants
The Programme conducts research on the management, nutrition and health requirements of improved breeds. The Programme, through a collaborative and cost-sharing arrangement, improves breeds of sheep and goats that are then availed to farmers to enable them upgrade the genetic composition of their stock, and increase their production levels.
The Programme aims at devising the best flock management practices for feeds and feeding, flock health, and housing for indigenous poultry.
3.16 Animal health
The Programme collaborates with Muguga-North and the Kenya Veterinary Vaccine Production Centre on ways to reduce and eradicate livestock diseases. It evaluates, validates and modifies generated technologies relevant for the ASALs.
3.17 Socio–Economics and Applied Statistics Research Programme
The mandate of the programme is to conduct research into the social and economic aspects of the design, development and dissemination of agricultural technology. There has been inadequate knowledge of the diversity among goals and strategies of smallholders as they manage their farming systems. The markets for farm inputs, labour, capital and agricultural products are not well understood. Similarly, there has been inadequate understanding of the linkages among concerns of technology consumers, technology suppliers and policy makers, hence the relevance of the socio-economics and biometrics KARI-Katumani farmer production constraints.
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The Agricultural Technology and Information Response Initiative (ATIRI) is a KARI-based outreach Programme which seeks to empower farmers to demand and acquire improved agricultural technologies and information from KARI. The KARI-Katumani component is supporting 13 farmer groups and community-based organisations.
The Centre collaborates with CGIAR, mainly the CIMMYT, ICRISAT, the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and the International Potato Centre, farmers and other stakeholders in carrying out its research and development agenda.
Research activities in Katumani have identified the following problems and developed/improved and recommended solutions as outlined
5.1 Drought/low and erratic rainfall
a) Manure and fertilizer application rate and placement methods
b) Combination of manure and fertilizers
c) Crop rotation using dryland legumes
d) Combination of fertilizers and soil moisture retention techniques
e) Formulated decision support systems for testing technologies
5.2 Crop pests and diseases
a) Integrated pests management options
b) Disease management technologies
c) Cheap/practical sunning and sieving methods of controlling bruchids in stored beans
d) Weed management strategies using oxen
e) Screening techniques for charcoal rot in beans
5.3 Inadequate/lack of improved seeds and planting materials
Katumani KSU Programme
5.4 Lack of appropriate agronomic packages
a) Population density recommendations
b) Improved intercropping techniques
c) Response farming
d) Timely weeding and weeding frequency
5.5 Shortage of labour in peak periods
Bukura Mark II multi-purpose plough
5.6 Shortage of animal feeds
a) Availability of drought resistant grasses and forage legumes
b) Use of combination of crop residue and silage as animal feeds
c) Technology for all-year-round feeding of livestock
d) Improved local pasture varieties
e) Availability of psyllid resistant leucaena varieties
5.7 Low productivity livestock breeds for resource-strained farmers
Management systems and availability of the Kenya dual-purpose goats
5.8 Livestock pests and diseases
Indigenous technical knowledge methods or control using modern methods
5.9 Shortage of water for livestock
Office Box 340-90100 Machakos,
Kenya; +254 (44) 20495, 20395/8/21638,
Centre Director: 020-2135118
Switch board: 020-2662260