This report mainly concerns a study of maize yield and soil fertility management among the SCOBICS farmers in western Kenya, conducted during late 2004 and early 2005. The study focused on the densely populated food-crop based land use system around Maseno in western Kenya. The objective of the study was to document and quantify: 1) farmers' practices of soil fertility maintenance, 2) the major factors which influence farmers' management decisions, 3) asses the scope for improving existing practices and introducing new ones on maize yield.
The report concludes that, for farmers to invest in soils, most households (unless they have a reliable source of non-farm income) need to diversify into higher value crops than maize. However, the combination of small land holdings and existing maize deficits mean that they will only plant other crops if they can simultaneously raise their maize yields. They will only be able to do this if they can access a number of important support services on integrated soil fertility management. They need technical knowledge, on best cultural practices for the new crops and, critically, on how to manage their natural resource base, so as to increase their yields both of maize and of the new crops and for striga control.
Ndufa, J.K., Wasonga, D., Maina, P., Poulton, C. and Cadisch, G. 2005. Biophysical survey. Annex C of the Final Technical Report of project R7962. London: Imperial College London and Kisumu, Kenya: KEFRI. 35 pp.