Soybean: An Assessment of Varieties Grown, Seed Sources and Farm-saved Seed Management Practices in Meru South Sub-County, Kenya
Chirchir, Grace Jepleting
Nyamongo, Desterio Ondieki
Gweyi-Onyango, Joseph P.
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Information on soybean varieties grown and seed sources is scanty. Since soybean seed deteriorates rapidly in the tropics; seed management is key to provision of planting material for the subsequent season. The study assessed soybean commonly grown varieties, seed sources and farm-saved-seed management practices in Meru South Sub-county, Kenya. Data was obtained from 308 purposively sampled soybean growing households using a pre-tested questionnaire in February 2013. Data was analyzed using SPSS. The study revealed that; the most commonly grown soybean varieties were Gazelle (82.2%), SB19 (14%), SB3 (1.9%) and SB 13 (1.9%). Due to lack of certified seed, farmers relied mostly on the Ministry of Agriculture (46%), farm saved seeds (25%) and seed exchange (15%). Seed management was poor as it was exposed to field weathering due to late harvesting (76%); mechanical damage by beating with sticks (94%); sun drying (100%); moisture damage by storage mostly in gunny bags (91%) for prolonged periods of up to 9 months before planting and lack of seed treatment (88%) leading to poor seed viability(43%). Therefore limited use of improved varieties, lack of certified seed, poor farm-saved-seed management practices hence poor viability were identified as constraints to soybean cultivation in the study area.