Kimitei R. K. 1*, William N. Mnene1, Bosco Kidake1, Denis Kubasu1 and M. Gatheru2
1Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kiboko Box 12-90138 Makindu, Kenya
2Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Katumani Box340- 90100 Machakos, Kenya
* Corresponding author:
This study was conducted in 2008 in Narok, Makueni and Kibwezi districts, with objectives of establishing the status of range forage seed availability and level of Natural Pasture Improvement (NaPI) practices with a view to enhance reseeding of degraded rangelands. Selected cluster sites in areas that supply cattle to primary markets (Kambu, Emali, Suswa) in the three districts were identified within agro-ecological zones IV & V. Semi-structured questionnaires were administered at household level to a total of 141 randomly selected respondents. It was observed that majority of the respondents experience shortage of feeds. More than 90% of respondents reported that cattle were the most severely affected by feed shortage. Most farmers 57% and 84% from Kibwezi and Makueni districts, respectively had knowledge of various natural pasture improvement technologies, including reseeding. The knowledge was acquired from different organizations and at different times. On the other hand, the Suswa clusters in Narok had no knowledge at all. Seed harvesting from range grasses for reseeding purposes was known and practised but to a limited extent within the Makindu clusters in Kibwezi and to an even lesser extent in Kathonzweni in Makueni. There was no formal seed supply of range adapted grasses, thus providing the opportunity to build capacity, develop and promote a community based range forage seed system.
Key words: Land degradation, Range reseeding, Natural pasture improvement.