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R. M. A. ONYANGO et.al.

EVALUATION OF ORGANIC AND INORGANIC FERTILISERS FOR


SMALL HOLDER MAIZE PRODUCTION IN NORTH RIFT KENYA
ONYANGO, R. M. A., T. J. MWANGI, W. W. KIIYA, M. K. KAMIDI
and M. W. WANYONYI
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC)
P. O. Box 450, Kitale, Kenya

ABSTRACT
The aim of the study was to educate farmers through demonstrations and field visits on the
importance of soil fertility in crop production with special emphasis on maize. Farmers were
exposed to a range of locally available organic materials for soil fertility improvement. A
multidisplinary team of researchers, farmers and extension officers were involved in the trials.
Demonstrations were held on methods of making high quality compost and also collection and
preservation of farm yard manure (FYM). On-farm trials using organic fertilisers and in
combination with inorganic fertiliser were compared to determine their effects on maize yield.
Soil samples collected in the farms indicated phosphorus and nitrogen deficiencies. Organic
fertilisers were high in pH, available P and organic carbon. The highest rates of compost or FYM
(10 tha-1) gave yields that were significantly higher than control (P < 0.05). Where mixtures of
organic and inorganic amendments on half/half basis were used, maize yields were not
significantly (P > 0.05) different from recommended fertiliser (60 P2O5 and 60 N kg ha-1) plots.
This trend was observed in the second and third years. Combining organic and inorganic
fertilisers is the best option of realising high yields in the study area.
Key words: Soil fertility, small holder, organic/inorganic fertilisers

INTRODUCTION
Low soil fertility, particularly N and P
deficiencies, is one of the major biophysical
constraints affecting agriculture in SubSaharan Africa (Smaling, 1993; Wang`ati and
Kebaara, 1993; Mokwunye et al., 1996).
According to Sanchez and Palm (1996) soil
fertility depletion in smallholder farms is the
fundamental biophysical root cause of
declining per capita food production in the
region, and its replenishment should be
considered as an investment in natural
resource capital (soil nutrients).
Continuous cropping, removal of field crop
residues for feeding ruminants and
overgrazing between cropping seasons with
little or no external inputs, have reduced the
productive capacity of arable lands and
threatened the sustainability of food
production systems not only in the densely
populated humid and subhumid highlands of
East Africa (Smaling et al., 1992;
Hudgens,1996) but throughout the Sub-

Saharan Africa (Stoorvogel et al 1993;


Sanchez et al., 1997. Traditional mechanisms
for maintaining soil fertility are no longer
feasible (Hudgens, 1996; Sanches et al.,
1997). At the same time, high input and
transport costs for agrochemicals make the use
of inorganic fertilisers on staple food crops
uneconomical for most smallholder farmers
(Kamasho et al., 1992; Heisey and Mwangi,
1996; Sanches et al., 1997; and Bashir et al.,
1997). Traditional approaches for soil fertility
management range from recurring fertiliser
applications to low external input agriculture
based on organic sources of nutrients (Sanchez
et al., 1997, Bashir et al., 1997).
Research to date has mainly compared
inorganic verses organic sources of N and P
with little consideration of nutrient content of
the organic sources. N and P are the most
deficient nutrients for maize production in the
high and medium altitude zones of Kenya
(Smaling, 1993; Smaling et al., 1992). The
quantitative interaction between organic and
inorganic sources of N is essentially a new

44

Evaluation of organic and inorganic fertilisers for small holder maize production

subject of research in the tropics (Palm et al.,


1997). Sanchez et al., (1997) suggested that
soil N should be replenished in the tropics
using systems that add N inputs in situ in
consistency with the constraints of the farmer.
The recommendations coming out were
usually too broad to cater for specific sub-agro
ecological zones (KARI, 1995), and were
based mainly on trials oriented towards the
interest of large scale farmers (Kamasho et al.,
1992).
Long term experiments in Africa provide
indirect evidence in support of combined
organic and inorganic approach to
replenishing N and C reserve. Kapkiyai (1996)
reported a 29% loss of total soil N (1.06 t N
ha-1 in top 15 cm) when maize and beans were
grown in rotation for 18 years without nutrient
inputs and with crop residues removal in
Kabete, Kenya. The same loss was recorded in
plots with the recommended fertiliser
applications with no residues returned.
However, when fertiliser and manures were
added and maize stover retained the decline in
total N was reduced by half.
The exclusive use of organic inputs as external
nutrient sources has been advocated as a
logical alternative to expensive fertilisers in
Africa (Reinjitjes et al., 1992). One of the
main arguments against their use is their low
nutrient concentration in comparison with
inorganic fertilisers (Sanchez et al., 1997). In
particular they have very low P content (Palm
et al., 1997). The application of organic
materials will therefore be insufficient to
overcome soil P deficiency in the Kenyan
highlands. The combination of small amounts
of inorganic P fertiliser with farmer-available
organic materials offers a strategy to meet the
P requirements of crops while maximising the
use of costly purchased P (Smaling et al.,
1992; Murwira et al., 1995). This formulation
may lead to realistic recommendations which
will take into account the farmers cropping
systems, management practises and capital
constraints (Jonga, et al., 1997, Benson et al.,
1997,). Organic fertilisers have one major
advantage in that they contain all essential
nutrients plus carbon, the source of energy for
soil biota that regulates nutrient cycling
(Sanchez et al., 1997).

In a survey carried out in Cherangani division,


Trans-Nzoia district, Mwania et al., (1989)
found that only one third of sample farmers
topdressed maize with N. A broader survey
throughout Kenya by the Maize Data Base
Project (MDBP) conducted in 1992-93
confirmed the same trend in the other districts
(Onyango, 1997). The report indicated high to
medium basal fertiliser use in Trans-Nzoia,
Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet districts
and low use in West Pokot district. About 87
and 76 % of farmers in Trans-Nzoia and Uasin
Gishu top dress maize respectively. There is
little or no topdressing in Marakwet and West
Pokot districts. Maintenance of soil fertility
becomes even more important as pressure on
agricultural land increases (Onyango, 1997;
Bashir et al., 1997; Sanchez, 1997). The
experience of using organic fertilisers may not
be very different from the neighbouring
Tanzania. Kamasho et al., (1992), reported
that 40% of small holder farmers in Southern
highlands of Tanzania used organic materials
for soil improvement without proper
guidelines or recommendations. Manure was
either collected and applied daily or heaped in
piles and spread in the field when dry.
Bulkiness, limited availability, and lack of
knowledge among farmers about preparing
and using compost and manure were some of
the major limitations (ASSP, 1988, 1992).
Towards the end of 1994, the Soil
Management Project funded by the
Rockefeller Foundation was launched at
NARC-Kitale with the sole aim of identifying
soil fertility related issues affecting food
productivity in resource poor farmers fields,
and at the same time initiate research to
address the problem. Emphasis was on the use
of locally available agricultural organic
materials such as FYM and adoption of
traditional cropping systems that would
replenish soil fertility. Participatory rural
appraisal (PRA) tools were used as a tool for
problem diagnosis. Soil fertility, though not
ranked first in farmer priority list, was a
problem throughout the four districts covered
by the NARC-Kitale mandate. The broad
objectives of the study were to: 1). educate
farmers on collection, and storage of FYM, 2).
demonstrate to farmers through on farm trials

R. M. A. ONYANGO et.al.
how to use composts and FYM in maize
production by, (i) evaluating the effect of
FYM and compost on maize yields, (ii)
comparing the effect of organic fertilisers and
inorganic fertilisers on maize yields and, (iii)
determining the effect of combining FYM or
compost with inorganic fertiliser on yield of
maize.

MATERIALS AND METHODS


Site description of the farming system.
Researcher extension farmer managed trials
were conducted among five communities in
Trans-Nzoia (Matunda and Weonia), Uasin
Gishu (Chobosta), West Pokot (Cheptuya) and
Keiyo (Anin) districts. The rainfall ranges
from 900 - 1200 mm per year and the soils are
predominantly Ferralsols. The farms are
representative of maize-based cropping
systems of the mid to highland areas (10001700 m asl) of northern Rift Valley, Kenya.
Farm sizes vary between 0.2 to 5 ha. Most
households are engaged in crop production
and small scale dairying. A variety of crops are
grown both as food and cash crop, and most
farmers own indigenous animals viz poultry,
cows, sheep and goats.
Problem identification and formulation of
treatments. At least 200 small holder resource
poor farmers with less than 2 hectares of land,
were identified under the guidance of local
extension officers as having severe soil
fertility problems. This was also confirmed
through PRA exercises conducted by a
multidisciplinary team of officers from KARI,
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development, NGOs, farmers and their key
informants. Through meetings and workshops,
the entire team interracted with farmers to list
and prioritise their problems. During these
discussions, causes of low crop yields and
potential solutions for increasing yields were
identified. Maize was given special emphasis
among the crops grown due to its importance
as a staple food crop. A basket of choices was
discussed for soil fertility improvement. Use
of compost manures, FYM and inorganic
fertilisers alone or in combination and applied
at different rates was selected for the trials.
Prior to the experimentation, extension

officers and farmers were trained on how to


prepare compost manures. Officers were then
able to carry out demonstrations on farmers
fields in their respective areas. The FYM was
collected and stored for on-farm
investigations. Follow up visits were made to
assist the farmers with the composting process
and to assess their appreciation of the practice.
After demarcating the area for the trials,
composite soil samples (at 0-15 cm and 15-30
cm) were taken at each farm and analysed for
pH, N, P, K, Mg, Ca and organic carbon to
determine the initial soil nutrient status. The
analytical procedure used for determination of
pH, organic carbon and all the elements are as
described by Page (1982).
Experimental layout. The on farm trials were
started in 1995 at 3 sites (Matunda, Chobosta
and Anin). Two additional sites were initiated
at Cheptuya and Weonia in 1996 and 1997,
respectively. Each community was responsible
for identifying those farmers who would
participate in the trial. Their interest and
involvement from problem identification,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation
helped in determining their perceptions and
overal adoption potential during the trial
period. The trials were collaborative in nature
and the role of each stakeholder discussed
during the meetings.
The trial was laid out as a RCBD with each
farmer in a village or location as a replicate.
During the first season, the fields were
prepared by oxen or tractor, but in the
subsequent seasons plots were prepared by
hand to avoid mixing soils from different
plots. H614D was planted 3 seeds/hill at a
spacing of 75 cm between rows and 60 cm in
between hills followed by thinning 3 to 4
weeks after emergence to 2 plants/hill. The
plots varied in size according to community
choices, from 6 x 6 m at Cheptuya and Anin to
9 x 6 m in Chobosta and Matunda. Pests,
mainly stalk borers, were controlled by use of
Dipterex at 4 -5 kg ha-1. Non-treatment
variables e.g. time of planting, weeding and
pest control were managed to near optional
levels as possible. The manure, compost and
inorganic fertilisers were weighed and placed
into the planting hole according to the

Evaluation of organic and inorganic fertilisers for small holder maize production

particular treatment. The data were subjected


to analysis of variance using the general linear
model procedure (GLM) of the SAS program
(SAS Institute, 1995) to determine the effects
of different treatments on maize yields.
Farmers opinions were sought during
evaluations at individual farm level, field days
and intergroup visits using check lists prepared
by the stake holders. Apart from yield, other
criteria recorded included, plant vigour,
sustainability, time and costs of production.
The complete set of treatments were: (1)
Recommended fertiliser rate - 60 kg P2O5 + 60
kg N ha-1, (2) 10 t ha-1 FYM, (3) 10 t ha-1
compost, (4) 5 t ha-1 FYM, (5) 30 kg P2O5 +
30 kg N + 5 t FYM ha-1, (6) 30 kg P2O5 + 30
kg N + 5 t compost ha-1, (7) 30 kg P2O5 + 30
kg N ha-1, (8) Farmers practice and (9)
Control. Not all the treatments were
represented at each site, the maximum number
being limited to Anin and Cheptuya with
seven treatments each, followed by Matunda
and Chobosta with six and five, respectively.

RESULTS
Soil Analysis. Soil tests were interpreted and
communicated to all farmers during
workshops, field days and normal field visits.
Generally the soils were moderately acidic
with very low organic matter. Nitrogen and
phosphorus deficiencies were observed in all
farms (Table 1). In all sites, major deficiencies
were observed in soil phosphorus, carbon and
to some extent, calcium in Matunda and
Cheptuya. These soils had nutrient levels
below critical values and are the fundamental
causes of low maize yields.

Farmyard manure collection, management,


storage and compost making. The
demonstrations/workshops held in 1994
through March 1995 were well attended. A
total of 75, 72 and 41 farmers attended the
initial workshops in Anin, Matunda and
Cheptuya respectively. More than 30 heaps of
composts were made and during the
monitoring period, farmers were instructed on
the best ways of storage to avoid losses of
valuable nutrients through volatilization and
leaching. Farmers were generally excited with
the new idea of using organic manures for
maize production to alleviate the high costs of
inorganic fertilisers. However, some farmers
were concerned with the high labour demand
of composting in addition to non-availability
of water and green materials during the dry
season. They opted for farm yard manures
which were readily available from the number
of livestock they owned. They were therefore
encouraged to undertake bomas composting
which would provide larger quantities of
manure. Analysis of composts and manures
indicated that in comparison to the farm soils,
both these organic fertilisers were high in pH,
P and organic carbon compared with the soils
(Table 2).
Maize yields. In the first year of
experimentation recommended fertiliser rate
(RF) gave high yields of 8.73, 7.22 and 8.75 t
ha-1 in Anin Sublocation, Matunda and
Chobosta village, respectively.
Yields using full rates of fertiliser were not
significantly different (P>0.05) from yields
where mixtures of RF and FYM (30 kg P2O5 +

TABLE 1. Soil chemical properties at the beginning of the trial in 1995


Chemical properties
Location

Depth
(cms)

pH H2O

Na (me) K (me)

Ca (me) Mg (me) Mn (me) P (ppm) C

Matunda

0-15

5.55

0.18

0.35

2.82

1.30

0.34

7.90

1.29

Cheptuya

0-15

5.60

0.21

0.23

1.20

1.60

0.15

15.70

0.70

Chobosta

0-15

5.58

0.18

1.13

6.00

2.17

0.75

17.08

1.87

Keiyo

0-30

5.59

0.23

1.00

7.08

3.68

0.75

40.62

1.52

Deficiencies are underlined.

R. M. A. ONYANGO et.al.
TABLE 2. Chemical properties of organic amendments used in 1995
Chemical properties
Location

Sample

Cheptuya

pH (H2O)

Na

Ca

Mg (

Mn

FYM

8.75

0.68

16.69

135.94

5.52

0.33

301.25

4.34

Chobosta

FYM

7.60

0.73

19.78

62.33

6.23

4.10

274.8

6.91

Matunda

FYM

8.30

0.24

0.60

3.00

1.75

0.28

21.00

5.40

Anin

FYM

8.50

0.55

15.55

64.58

7.60

0.51

247.9

8.77

Compost 8.80

0.53

12.16

40.00

8.00

1.21

190.0

3.70

Due to the poor soil fertility status of these farms, there was need to make frequent follow up to
encourage farmers to prepare and incorporate organic manures in their farms.

30 kg N + 5 t FYM ha-1) were used, at


Matunda (7.19 t ha-1) and Chobosta (9.44 t ha1
) (Tables 3). However in Anin the two
treatments were significantly different
(P<0.05). Yields from the mixed treatment RF
+ compost (30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5t
compost ha-1), did not significantly differ
(P>0.05) from those of RF treatment (Table 3).
At Matunda, Chobosta and Cheptuya, farmers
used some fertilisers on their normal maize
fields resulting in yield differences with the
control treatments. In the second year (Table
4) similar trends were observed. In Matunda,
RF treatment had the highest yield which was
significantly different from the other
treatments. At Anin however the RF gave
yields that were not significantly different
from the other treatments except the control
and farmers practise.
At Cheptuya where very low soil fertility was
observed, all the treatments showed significant
yield differences from each other. In year
three, combining organic and inorganic
fertilisers gave yields which were not
significantly different from the RF (Table 5).
This was more so at Anin sub location where
the organic amendments contained high
amounts of phosphorus and organic carbon.
Similar trends were observed at various sites
in 1998 (Table 6).
Farmers' Assessment. Farmers were
impressed by the yield gains. During field
days and intergroup visits, most farmers

preferred treatments that gave higher maize


yields compared to the control treatment. They
believed this would cut down their production
costs. They did not attach monetary value to
composting and farmyard manure collection
but mainly worried about the labour
requirements, occasional poor availability of
water, and the time taken for preparation,
collection, storage and application of these
organic fertilisers. Farmers agreed that these
alternatives gave increased yields and crop
vigour (data not included). Since most of them
also kept various forms of livestock (goats,
indigenous cattle, sheep and poultry) the
sustainability of the production of high boma
manure was assured. Generally farmers from
different clusters came up with their own
criteria for ranking the treatments. The
assessments were made at individual farm
visits, farmer workshops (barazas),
intergroup visits or field days. Some of the
criteria used when deciding the best treatments
are listed in Table 7.
For most farmers the most important criteria
was the cob size. This visual observation was
indicative of the grain weight. Based on the
above mentioned criteria, farmers from
Weonia cluster ranked the full inorganic
fertiliser treatment (60 kg P2O5 + 60 kg N ha-1)
as their best treatment, followed by the
combined half rates of organic and inorganic
fertilisers (30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5 t FYM
ha-1 and 30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5 t compost
ha-1) (Table 8).

Evaluation of organic and inorganic fertilisers for small holder maize production
TABLE 3. Maize yields (t ha-1) in plots applied with inorganic, organic fertilisers and their
combinations in 1995
Location
Treatments

Matunda

Chobosta

Anin

60 kg P2O5 + 60 kg N

7.22 (6) a

8.75 (6) ab

8.73 (6) a

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5t FYM

7.19 (6) a

9.44 (6) a

7.69 (6) bc

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5t compost -

8.53 (6) ab

10 t FYM

5.11 (6) bc

7.67 (6) bc

7.06 (6) bc

10 t Compost

6.70 (6) c

Farmers practice

6.24 (6) ab

9.34 (6) a

4.12 (4)

Control

4.16 (6) b

6.63 (6) c

4.47 (7) c

Site mean

5.98

8.37

6.85

C.V

14.76

11.91

19.61

Figures in the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different (P<0.05) Figures in brackets denote number of farmers using that particular treatment (replicate)
TABLE 4. Maize yield (t ha-1) in plots applied with inorganic, organic fertilisers and their
combinations in 1996
Location
Chobosta
6.69 (6) ab
6.74 (3) ab
7.74 (3) a

Treatments

Matunda
60 kg P2O5 + 60 kg N
6.56 (5) a
30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N
4.69 (5) b
30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 4.49 (5) ab

Cheptuya
6.04 (8) a
3.75 (6) c
4.82 (8) b

30kg P2O5 + 30 kg N + 5 -

7.43 (4) a

10 t FYM
5 t FYM
10 t Compost
Farmers practice
Control
Site mean
C.V

2.15 (8) de
1.16 (8) e
2.70 (2) de
0.97 (2) e
3.20
30.64

5.53 (3) bc
3.49 (3) c
4.71 (3) bc
5.81
22.54

7.45 (6) a
8.20 (5) a
1.97 (2) c
4.34 (5) bc
7.29
25.88

3.02 (5) c
2.79 (5) c
2.97 (5) c
4.25
23.10

Anin
9.34 (6) a
6.76 (2) ac
8.68 (6) a

Figures in the same column followed by the same letter are not significantly different (P<0.05)
Figures in brackets denote number of farmers who used the treatment (replicate)

Based on the criteria used above, Matunda


farmers could not see any differences from
using full rates of inorganic fertilisers and half
rates of organic and inorganic fertilisers (Table
9).

DISCUSSION
In order to increase yields, the limiting
nutrients must be added to soils in the form of
organic and/or inorganic fertilisers. Farmers
were made to realise that soil problems in their

farms could not be addressed by just adding


phosphorus and nitrogen alone. In future,
treatments that have proved superior will be
verified outside the current communities on
larger plots to make conclusive
recommendation and obtain realistic economic
data. The number of farmers varied from site
to site and within subsequent years. Mistakes
arose even though the farmers roles were
explained during the beginning of the trials.
Some farmers still ploughed using tractors or

R. M. A. ONYANGO et.al.
TABLE 5. Maize yield (t ha-1) in plots applied with inorganic, organic fertilisers and their
combinations in 1997
Location
Treatments

Chobosta

Anin

Weonia

60 kg P2O5 + 60kg N 6.00 (6) ab 4.35 (6) ab

Matunda

Cheptuya

8.60 (5) a

4.63 (5) b

6.25 (11) a

30 kg P2O5 + 30kg N 5.03 (6) b

3.63 (6) bc

7.62 (5) a

2.95 (3) a

4.48 (8) a

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N 6.04 (6) a

5.07 (6) a

7.48 (5) a

5.03 (4) b

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N -

5.87 (5) b

4.81 (10) b

10 t FYM

4.07 (6) c

2.92 (6) cd

5.89 (5) b

4.80 (5) b

6.09 (11) a

5 t FYM

0.93 (5) e

6.30 (7) a

10 t Compost

4.75 (4) b

Farmers practice

2.37 (6) d

1.91 (4) de

Control

2.62 (6) d

0.63 (4) e

3.51 (8) c

2.19 (5) a

Site mean

4.75

2.98

6.62

4.34

5.62

C.V

15.77

34.94

17.39

22.14

22.73

Figures in the column followed by the same letter are not significantly different (P<0.05)
Figures in brackets denote number of farmers who used that particular treatment (replicate)
TABLE 6. Maize yield (t ha-1) in plots applied with inorganic, organic fertilisers and their
combinations in 1998

60 kg P2O5 + 60 kg N
30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N
30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N

Matunda
7.83 ab
6.51 ab
8.81 a

Weonia
6.52 a
6.67 a

Location
Cheptuya
7.40 a
6.09 ab
-

30 kg P2O5 + 30kg N

6.91 a

5.80 ab

7.59 ab

10 t compost
10 t FYM
5 t FYM
Farmers practice
Zero rate`
Site Mean
CV (%)
Maximum number of farmers

5.80 b
6.53 ab
3.55 c
6.5
25.7
5

6.32 a
7.00 a
5.28 b
6.45
19.7
20

3.82 bc
2.89 cd
3.81 bc
1.35 d
4.45
33.9
6

9.03 b
7.62 c
9.63
12.6
4

6.91 ab
6.85 ab
2.65 b
6.48
40.3
4

Treatments

Chobosta
11.78 a
8.83 bc
10.90 a

Anin
7.75 a
4.31 ab
9.33 a

Figures in the same column followed by same letter are not significantly different (P<0.05)
Figures in brackets denote number of farmers using that particular treatment (replicate)

10

Evaluation of organic and inorganic fertilisers for small holder maize production

TABLE 7. Criteria for ranking maize treatments


Cluster

Criteria

Weonia

1. Leaf colour (green = best) 2. Stem size 3. Stand count 4. Plant height

Matunda

1. Foliage colour 2. Stem thickness 3. Height 4. Plant Population 5. Grain density


(1000 grain weight) 6. Yield

TABLE 8. Matrix ranking of maize treatments at Weonia, 1997


Treatment t ha-1

Emergence

Grain

Cob

Pests

Stem

Leaf

Points

Rank

60 kg P2O5 + 60 kg N

++++

++++

++++

+++

++++

20

10 t FYM

+++

++

++++

11

10 t comp

++++

+++

++++

13

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N

++

+++

++

++++

++++

+++

18

30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg N

++

+++

++

++++

++

++

15

Key:

Bad = 0 Moderate = +

Good = ++

Better = +++

Best = ++++

TABLE 9. Farmers evaluation of fertility treatments at Matunda cluster, 1997


Treatments
(t ha-1)

Foliage
Stem
Plant
Plant
Yield
colour thickness height population

Grain
weight

Yields (t ha-1)

60 kg N + 60

10

10

Beans
2.83

Maize
6.00

Control

2.62

2.62

30 kg N + 30

2.40

5.03

30 kg N + 30 7
kg P2O5 + 5 ton

10

3.39

6.04

10 ton compost 8

10

2.47

4.07

Key:

10 - very good

1 - very poor

oxen, which resulted in the mixing up of the


soils while other farmers simply lost interest.

CONCLUSION
The results have so far indicated that proper
manipulation of compost and FYM with
reduced amounts of inorganic fertilisers can
increase farmers' maize yields. Although the
organic fertilisers do not generally contain
sufficient nutrients to meet crop demand, and
are sometimes of poor quality in terms of
nutrients supplying capacity, their nutrient

composition is high in pH, P and organic


carbon compared to the soil in the study area.
Although farmers have expressed a number of
negative points on preparation of composts,
collection, storage and application of FYM,
they have also seen their positive attributes in
terms of increased maize yields and less
expenditure on inputs.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors wish to convey their sincere
thanks to Rockefeller Foundation for funding

R. M. A. ONYANGO et.al.
the project and the Director KARI for
providing facilities to carry out these
activities. We would like to express our
gratitude to the entire NARC-Kitale (SMP)
team members incharge of the various clusters
for their tireless efforts in planning,
implementation and monitoring of project
activities. Thanks also to all cooperating
farmers, collaborators departmental heads of
MoALD & M in our regions and NGOs (Vi,
KWAP, Environmental Action Team and
Manor House Agricultural Centre).
Appreciation is expressed to the Director of
NARC-Kitale for providing administrative
support services.

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