Opportunities for Coping with Climate Change and Variability Through Adoption of Soil and Water Conservation Technologies in Semi-arid Eastern Kenya

Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


Scenario analysis using data generated from APSIM model was conducted to investigate the effect of soil and water conservation practices (tied ridges and mulching) on grain yield of improved maize varieties (Katumani and Makueni) generated with and without N fertilizers under below normal (<250 mm), normal (≥250 < 350 mm) and above normal seasons (≥350 mm) in two sites, Katumani and Makindu in Machakos and Makueni counties Eastern Kenya. Results indicate that the yields were significant (<0.01) under the different seasons and treatments with the magnitude of the yields response varied. Highest yields in Katumani (3,370 kg/ha) were obtained during below normal seasons and when both fertilizer and tied ridges were used. In Makindu, however, under all treatments, highest yields were obtained during above normal seasons with 3,708 kg/ha yield when 40 kg N/ha fertilizer was applied. Lowest yields on the other hand, were obtained during normal seasons in both sites with 507 kg/ha in Katumani and 552 kg/ha under tied ridges and mulching + fertilizers in Makindu. Compared with farmers practice (control), the yield increment obtained was 4 kg/ha (0.6 %) and 5 kg/ha (0.7 %) in Katumani; 32 kg/ha (4.6 %) and 33 kg/ha (4.7 %) in Makindu under mulching and tied ridges respectively during below normal seasons otherwise the yield decreased during normal and above normal seasons with up to 19 % in Makindu when tied ridges was practised. Fertilization increased the yields of maize by as high as 2,552 kg/ha (433 %) and 2,319 kg/ha (166 %) in Katumani and Makindu respectively during above normal seasons. However, during normal seasons, there was yield decrease in Makindu by 42 %. When both fertilization and soil and water conservation practices was done, yield increase was 2,335 kg/ha (456 %) and 2,382 kg/ha (465 %) in Katumani during normal seasons under mulching +40 kg N/ha and tied ridges +40 kg N/ha respectively. In Makindu, yields declined during normal seasons, however, increase was by 2,229 kg/ha (160 %) and 2,108 kg/ha (152 %) during above normal seasons under mulching +40 kg N/ha and tied ridges +40 kg N/ha respectively. The results indicate that the use of fertilizers and soil and water conservation are indispensable for ensuring food security in semi-arids where rainfall is very variable.


Tied ridges Mulching N fertilizer Seasons Katumani Makindu 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid TropicsNairobiKenya
  2. 2.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT)Addis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.1KARI KatumaniMachakosKenya

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