Land Management on Semi-Arid Hillsides in Eastern Kenya: Learning from Farmers' Diverse Practices

Abstract

This paper attempts to place indigenous soil and water conservation (ISWC) within overall land management by exploring interactions between ISWC, cropping, and crop protection practices. A diagnostic field study was conducted in Mbeere District, located on the semi-arid footslopes of Mount Kenya. A wide range of land management practices was identified where synergistic effects between ISWC and cropping were exploited. However, a serious drawback with many ISWC techniques is the survival and spread of insect pests and disease pathogens in preserved crop residues. Trash lines, for example, can exacerbate problems with stalk rots and stem borers. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of indigenous crop protection practices that can be combined with ISWC. The study highlights the fact that farmers do not always consider soil erosion to be the chief biophysical problem in hillside environments and it is indicated that the way forward to improve land management lies at the interface between ISWC, cropping, and crop protection.

Citation

Tengberg, A.; Muriithi, L.; Okoba, B. Land Management on Semi-Arid Hillsides in Eastern Kenya: Learning from Farmers’ Diverse Practices. Mountain Research and Development (1999) 19 (4) 354-363.

Land Management on Semi-Arid Hillsides in Eastern Kenya: Learning from Farmers’ Diverse Practices

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