Growth and yield of tomato under alternate furrow irrigation in kibwezi, an “ASAL” area in eastern Kenya

  • J M Makau Ministry of Agriculture, P.O. Box 32008, Nairobi-Kenya
  • Peter W Masinde Meru University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 972-6000, Meru-Kenya
  • Patrick G Home Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
  • Charles K Njoroge Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
  • Elisha N Mugai Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Keywords: Conventional Furrow Irrigation, Dry matter, Partial Root Drying, Plant growth, Plant height, Relative Water Content

Abstract

Water saving irrigation technologies are key for crop production in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) considering the scarcity of water in these regions. A study was set up to test one such a technology, the alternate furrow irrigation (AFI) on tomato at farm level. The experiment was conducted in a furrow irrigation scheme in Kibwezi, which is an ASAL in Kenya. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of AFI on growth, yield and water use of tomato vareity “Nuru†F1. Irrigation water was applied through furrows in two ways: Alternate Furrow irrigation (AFI) where two neighbouring furrows were alternately irrigated during consecutive watering, eliciting Partial Root Drying (PRD) and Conventional Furrow Irrigation (CFI), which was the farmer practice of filling each furrow with irrigation water at each watering. The experimental design was randomized complete block design with three replications. Irrigation water use, soil moisture, leaf relative water content, vegetative and reproductive growth were determined. The cummulative irrigation water supplied to the AFI treatment was 60-62% of that supplied to the CFI treatment. This amounted to water savings of 38-40%. Plants in the AFI row that received water and those in the CFI had higher leaf RWC, which was significant on limited sampling dates. Most parameters of growth both vegetative and reproductive were higher in CFI compared to AFI, but the difference was not significant. Implementation of AFI in the Kibwezi irrigation scheme can lead to water saving and enhance productivity. However, the declines in vegtative and reproductive growths observed emphasize the need to apply AFI carefully with soil moisture monitoring, to avoid developing severe water deficits, which can lead to significant reductions in both growth and yield.

Author Biographies

J M Makau, Ministry of Agriculture, P.O. Box 32008, Nairobi-Kenya

Ministry of Agriculture, P.O. Box 32008, Nairobi-Kenya

Peter W Masinde, Meru University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 972-6000, Meru-Kenya
Meru University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 972-6000, Meru-Kenya
Patrick G Home, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Charles K Njoroge, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Elisha N Mugai, Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Jomo Kenyatta university of Agriculture and technology, P.O. Box 62000,Nairobi-Kenya
Published
2014-12-14
How to Cite
Makau, J., Masinde, P., Home, P., Njoroge, C., & Mugai, E. (2014). Growth and yield of tomato under alternate furrow irrigation in kibwezi, an “ASAL” area in eastern Kenya. African Journal of Horticultural Science, 8(1). Retrieved from http://www.hakenya.net/ajhs/index.php/ajhs/article/view/148
Section
Articles