Increasing yellow passion yields by managing water stress using hydrogel, polythene and grass mulches in Embu and Kiambu Counties, Kenya

ver the years, farmers in dry areas of Africa have depended on a narrow range of crops that tolerate water stress for nourishment and income generation. Yellow passion fruit production is a lucrative venture of much higher income compared to other crops such as cereals in drought prone areas. Agronomic management involves better use of available soil water conserving practices, especially in areas where rainfall is a major limiting factor, benefits farmers by enhancing both productivity and profitability. The present study was carried out to evaluate the potential of different soil water conserving practices to increase productivity of yellow passion fruit (Passiflora spp.). A researcher-farmer managed field experiment was conducted in Ugweri, Embu County, and a similar one at Kenyatta University research farm, Kiambu County (Researcher-managed), consisting of six treatments (Hydrogel_20g, Hydrogel_10g + Polythene Mulch, Hydrogel_10g + Grass Mulch, Plastic Mulch, Grass Mulch and a control), in a randomized complete block design (RCBD). A single variety of KPF4 was used. At 42 weeks after transplanting (WAT), yield significantly (P<0.05) varied from 5.10 t/ha in the control treatment to 10.53 t/ha (Hydrogel_10g + Polythene mulch treatment) in Ugweri. Similarly, at Kenyatta University initial yields varied from 3.11 t/ ha in the control treatment to 9.73 t/ha in the Hydrogel_10g + Polythene mulch treatment. These results indicated that Hydrogel_10g + Polythene consistently provided the highest yields over the five harvests; 10.53 t/ha, 14.05 t/ha, 20.27 t/ha, 17.76 t/ha and 14.90 t/ha in Ugweri, and 9.73 t/ha, 12.05 t/ha, 17.88 t/ha, 13.99 t/ha and 11.40 t/ha at Kenyatta University. Based on these findings, Hydrogel_10g+Polythene Mulch could be a viable option for farmers to adopt for increasing fruit production in yellow passion.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
East Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
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Web resource