Area Adaptability, Growth And Response To Fertilizer Application By Three Common Aloe Species In A Semi-Arid Eastern Kenya

  • P. Kathuli
  • R. Musyoki
  • S.N. Nguluu
  • F. Omari
  • S.M. Matimbii
  • R. Mutunga
Keywords: Agriculture

Abstract

Semi-arid lands have limited sustainable cash crops that can survive the dry climatic conditions and provide a stable source of income to the people in the region. Aloes, which grow wildly in this region has a large world market valued at U$ 20 billion and are a source of natural products that are used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries worldwide. In order to commercialize this crop in the dry lands of eastern Kenya, studies were conducted to investigate adaptability, response to fertilizer and/or manure application and growth of three commonly occurring aloe varieties in semi–arid lands. The 3 aloes were tested for response to 9 fertilizer and/or manure treatments  and their environmental adaptability in a randomized complete block design in a split plot arrangement at Kambi ya Mawe in Makueni district from 2007-2009. The results revealed that, aloe secundifolia Engler and aloe vera barbadensis Miller had a better (P ≤ 0.05) survival proportion of 96% and 92% after the first year and 93% and 79.5% at the end of second year of growth respectively. Leaf area index (LAI) which is a measure of aloe growth, was higher (P ≤ 0.05) in aloe secundifolia Engler and aloe turkanensis Christian than aloe vera barbadensis Miller. After the 2 years of study, the 3 aloes species did not respond significantly (P ≤ 0.05) to fertilizer and/or manure application. Participating farmers were empowered on aloe agronomy and processing. It was recommended that, A. secundifolia Engler was most adaptable for growing in the semi-arid lands followed by A. vera barbadensis and can be grown up to 2 years without fertilizer or manure application in very low fertile soils. However, more data is required to show how long the aloes can be grown without soil fertility improvements.
Published
2011-09-21
How to Cite
Kathuli, P., Musyoki, R., Nguluu, S., Omari, F., Matimbii, S., & Mutunga, R. (2011). Area Adaptability, Growth And Response To Fertilizer Application By Three Common Aloe Species In A Semi-Arid Eastern Kenya. East African Agricultural and Forestry Journal, 76(1&2). Retrieved from https://www.kalro.org/www.eaafj.or.ke/index.php/path/article/view/409