The project area in Kenya is situated in the sub-humid highlands (Central Province) at approximately 1500m a.s.l. with an annual precipitation of 1500 – 2400 mm (Chuka) and 900 – 1100 mm (Thika), characterised by two rainy seasons. The project investigates two sites of different production potential, a production system based on a 3-year crop rotation with maize, beans, potatoes and vegetables. The conventional and organic treatments are run on two input levels each (low level represents subsistence farming; high level represents commercial growers).
- The Chuka site is located at 1’450m a.s.l., in the agroecological zone (UM 2) (according to FAO, 1996), also called main coffee zone. This zone is characterised by a medium to long first cropping season and a medium to short second season. Mean annual temperature is about 20°C. The mean annual rainfall varies between 1’500-2’400mm. Soils are classified as humic nitisols and they are of a volcanic origin with basic and ultra basic igneous rocks. Yield potential is high.
Chuka on GoogleMaps
- The Thika site is located in the agroecological zone of the upper midlands (UM 3), named sunflower-maize zone. The site lies at 1’500m a.s.l. with an annual mean temperature of about 20°C. The mean annual rainfall ranges from 900 to 1’100mm. It has a short to medium and a short cropping season with the rains beginning in March and the short rains beginning mid-October. Soils are classified as dystric nitosol and are slightly susceptible to erosion. Yield potential is moderate.
Thika on GoogleMaps
For the participatory development of adapted technologies, Kangari, in Murang’a District, was selected. Kangari lies in a dairy/tea growing zone between 1'730 and 2'100 m a.s.l. Rainfall is distributed over two seasons, with 1'600-1'800mm per year. Temperatures vary between 12°C and 28°C. Besides their tea plantations, farmers have 2-3 livestock units (dairy cows, goats, chicken, rabbits) and on average 0.2 hectares of arable land, which is mainly used for vegetable production for both home consumption and market.
FAO, 1996. Agro-ecological Zoning Guidelines, FAO Soils Bulletin 73. FAO, Rome