A promising new food legume crop for drought prone cool areas of Kenya
Thagana, W. M.
MetadataShow full item record
Eighty percent of Kenya is Arid and Semi Arid (ASALS) and crop failure is common. Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is a promising leguminous food crop that can withstand serious drought conditions because it extracts water deep in the soil profile, which is the basis for drought tolerance. The crop is multipurpose and may be used as human food and animal feed. All plant parts may be used as green vegetables when harvested in the early growth stages. Chickpea performance trials were conducted in 2008/9 on-station and together with the local farming communities, to identify high yielding adapted varieties for commercialisation in drought prone districts of Kenya. Seven chickpea varieties comprising 4 Kabuli and 3 Desi types, were planted on-farm in 2 locations in each of the two districts viz. Naivasha and Bomet. Farmers participated in selecting varieties based on their preferred traits, which included taste and seed yield. The same varieties were planted in an RCBD on-station at Njoro. Data were recorded on various variables. ANOVA for the variables was done using SAS and means separated using LSD. Kenya experienced a serious drought in 2008 resulting in crop failure and in many places maize the staple food was not harvested. In spite of the serious drought, the highest yields obtained for a Desi type (variety-ICCV97105) and for a Kabuli type (variety-ICCV95423) were 1482 and 1010 kg per hectare respectively. There was a negative correlation between farmer’s perceived rank of the varieties for yield performance and the actual yield obtained and in one site the correlation was highly (P<0.01) significant indicating that farmers had the ability to select high yielding varieties. Though not significantly different (P>0.05), on-station the highest yields were obtained for ICCV00108 and ICCV97105, which are Desi types with yields of 724 and 691 kg per hectare respectively. Variety ICCV97105, which was high yielding both, on-farm and on-station was also the most preferred variety by the farmers. ANOVA revealed highly (P<0.01), significant differences for varieties for initial stand count, stand count at harvest, days to 50% flowering and 100-seed weight. The Desi types were observed to be resistant to stem and root rot diseases such as Fusarium wilt. Variety-ICCV97105 and variety- ICCV95423 have already been entered in the National performance trials (NPT) for release considerations. Adoption is expected to be high since the farmers have participated in the trials and therefore own the varieties.