Participatory development of new white sorghum varieties with brewing qualities for performance in hot dry lowlands and cold dry highlands

The promotion white sorghum, Gadam variety production for commercialisation under KASAL project between 2008 and 2010 resulted in increased adoption of sorghum production by farmers in the ASALS. However the yield of Gadam variety did not match the market demand. Although the average yields for gadam sorghum are 14 bags/acre (0.5 tons/ha) with a range of 8 – 20 bags/acre (0.3-0.7 ton/ha), sorghum varieties with higher yields can be achieved through breeding. In addition Gadam only grows in the hot dry low lands but has challenges in cold dry high lands. Farmers in the cold areas have interest in growing sorghum for commercialization. Gadam is also prone to the covered kernel smut. Therefore there was need to develop sorghum varieties with higher yields, resistant to Covered Kernel Smut (CKS) and having brewing quality for various climates. Therefore the Purpose of this activity is toincrease the production of white sorghum through breeding in order to enhance household incomes and food security thorough commercialization

The major objective is to do participatory evaluation to develop and release white sorghum varieties with enhanced yields, brewing qualities and resistant to CKS for cold dry highlands and hot dry lowlands.

The expected outcome is to advance at least the best 4 lines into NPT and DUS with eventual release.

Development of bird management technologies in eastern Kenya

As bird menace discourage white sorghum production in most parts of Kenya, it was found necessary to evaluate new farmer friendly bird management techniques. In 2013-2016 seasons experimental plots were established on-station at Katumani, Ithookwe and Kampi Mawe. The objectives were (i) to evaluate the effectiveness of using millet as trap crop of birds, to protect sorghum grain from being fed on by birds, and (ii) to evaluate the option of harvesting early sorghum grain to deter bird damage. The expected main output was to salvage of at least 50% yield for food security and increased farm earnings.

Dissemination of bird management technologies in eastern Kenya

The output from study one (1.3.1) demonstrated that over 90% of sorghum grain yield was salvageable when grain was harvested at soft dough on reaching physiological maturity. The next level was to disseminate the information to farmers in eastern Kenya who have limited crop enterprise to rely on both for food and earnings from the surplus. The objectives were (i) select 2 farms for each of the counties of Kitui, Machakos and Makueni at Ithookwe, Kithimani and Kampi Mawe respectively, and (ii) invite farmers for participatory evaluation of early harvest-and-dry of sorghum in the selected 6 farms. The expected outputs were at least 30% adoption of the technology in the production seasons of 2016-2017.

Improving Food and Nutrition Security of Vulnerable

The goal of these project is to enhance food and nutritional security and increase house hold income among vulnerable groups in semi-arid Kenya. This is to be achieved through:  a) development and evaluation grain amaranth production and post-harvest technologies b) demonstrating and up/outscaling proven-improved grain amaranth production and post-harvest technologies c) developing amaranth grain enterprise market.

The project activities include germplasm evaluation and bulking of adequate quantities of good quality seeds. Studies on natural resource management and appropriate crop protection technologies are already under way. This activities will contribute towards improving productivity of amaranth grain in the ASALs. Post-harvest studies being undertaken include;chemical analysis of promising amaranth lines to determine nutritive profile and anti-nutritional factors associated with the crop. Proven improved amaranth technologies will then be up/outscaled and disseminated through training of stakeholders, setting up demonstrations in target areas, holding field days and exhibitions. Technologies will also be disseminated through pamphlets, leaflets, manuals, print and electronic media.  This activity will be achieved by involving partners including community based organizations (CBOs), faith based organizations (FBOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Ministry of agriculture, Ministry of health, Schools and farmer groups who will assist in spreading the technologies.

Expected Outputs

Improved production and post-harvest technologies for amaranth grain introduced and evaluated. 

Proven-improved amaranth grain production and post-harvest practices up/outscaled in ASALs.

Grain amaranth enterprise market developed.