The Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Management of Soil Quality among Smallholders in Chuka and Gachoka Divisions, Kenya
Mairura, F. S
Mwanje, J. I.
Ramisch, J. J.
Mbugua, P. K.
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Scientists and farmers possess qualitative knowledge of agro-ecosystems that they observe, which could be a valuable resource for science. A study based on participatory methods was conducted to determine farmers' soil quality perceptions and common soil management practices that influenced S soil fertility within fanners' fields in Chuka and Gachoka Divisions, in Meru South and Mbeere Districts Kenya. Soils characterized P by farmers were geo-referenced after which they were sampled at surface depth I (0-20 cm) for subsequent physical and n chemical analyses, to determine differences it within farmers' soil quality categories. Farmers used sensory information, based upon soil tactile and visible characteristics d to distinguish soil productivity. Indicators for distinguishing productive and non-productive S fields included crop yields and performance, a soil colour and soil texture. There were significant statistical differences among soil fertility categories, using parametric techniques (ANOVA) for key soil properties ), implying that the soils must have a, belonged to different populations and that C there was a qualitative difference in the soils c that were characterised as different by IT fanners. Soil fertility and crop management el practices that were investigated indicated g that farmers understood and consequently kJ utilized spatial heterogeneity and temporal h variability in soil quality status within their farms as a resource to maintain or enhance agricultural productivity