Evaluation Of Medium Altitude And Dry Land Maize (Zea Mays) Varieties Suitability To Mountain And Oasis Zones Of Northern Kenya PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 03 August 2011 05:23

Ngutu M. 1*, S. Obanyi2, E. M. Muya2, H. Charfi1, Bulle H., S. Mamo1 and P. Geikuku1

1KARI Marsabit, P O Box 147-60500, Marsabit

2National Agricultural Research Laboratory, P O Box 57811, Nairobi

* Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The biophysical, climatic and socio-economic characteristics of the arable pockets of Northern Kenya are unique when compared to other parts of Kenya. This necessitated maize varieties trials to establish their suitability to the region.  Medium altitude, dry land hybrids, dry land composites and a local composite were tried. Of interest were the crop yields, communities’ preference and gross margins. For yield comparison experimentation using a randomized complete block design was done and data analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA). To gauge community preference pair wise ranking was used. Results showed that the medium altitude variety and the local composite were the highest yielding varieties across the sites with yields of 18.13 kg ± 0.30 kg and 17.70 kg ± 0.41 kg per 72 square metres respectively while the dry land composites were least yielding with yields of 11.17 kg ± 0.54 kg in the same area. The most preferred variety in the highlands and riverines were the medium altitude and local composite while in the foot slopes it was the dry land composites and local composite. The highlands had the highest gross margins for all varieties with the irrigated riverine showing low gross margins due to the higher costs associated with irrigation. The footslopes had the lowest gross margins for all varieties. It is concluded that in the foot slopes, alternative dry land crops should be sought to replace maize.  For the highlands, maize farming using medium altitude varieties is a viable farming enterprise. In the irrigated riverines maize should be avoided as it’s gross margins are low and other crops with higher gross margins explored.

Key words: Maize varieties, arable pockets, Northern Kenya, performance

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