Article

Farmers’ perspectives on factors limiting tomato production and yields in Kabete, Kiambu County, Kenya

DOI: 10.1080/00128325.2016.1261986
Author(s): G. N. KarukuDepartment of LARMAT, Nairobi, J. W. KimenjuDepartment of Plant Science and Crop Protection, Nairobi, H. VerplanckeDepartment of Soil Management and Soil Care, Belgium

Abstract

A survey was carried out in Kabete, Central Kenya to establish the limitations and constraints experienced by farmers growing tomatoes. A structured questionnaire was prepared and tested in the field before the actual survey was carried out. Fifty farmers were interviewed and the data analysed established that most farmers lacked enough land, irrigation water, credit and technological knowledge to enable them to optimize tomato production, especially during dry spells when they could fetch premium prices. The average farm size ranged from 0.13 to 1.5 ha and ownership was on a freehold basis. Most households (43%) consisted of five people. A major constraint facing farmers was soil moisture, cited by 50% of farmers interviewed. Nematode infestation and low fertility came second at 25% each. About 60% of the farmers used diammonium phosphates (DAP) for planting and 20% top dressed with calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN). In conclusion, there is a need to provide farmers with reliable irrigation water at affordable prices and credit facilities to enable them to afford inputs such as quality seeds and fertilizers. This will allow them to produce in the dry seasons to take advantage of premium market prices.

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