Evaluation of Tomato Production Systems as Influenced by Rainfall Patterns in Semi-Arid Central Kenya

Joseph M. Karienye, Dr. Tom Ouna, Dr. Hellen Kamiri

Abstract


Efficient production systems help to achieve improved crop production and contributes to economic growth at local, regional levels and enables agricultural sustainability. Tomato production in Kieni East Sub County is predominantly rain fed, exposing this major livelihood to the variability in rainfall patterns, leading to disruption in production. Understanding the characteristics of tomato production systems and the determinants enhances their competitiveness and determines their adoption levels. The aim of the study was to evaluate of tomato production systems as influenced by rainfall variability patterns in a semi-arid region in Central Kenya. Data was collected from tomato farmers in four wards in Kieni East Sub-County namely, Thegu River, Kabaru, Narumoru/ Kiamathaga and Gakawa, by using face-to-face questionnaires in the field as well as agricultural office visits. The climate in Kieni East Sub County permits production of a wide range of tomato varieties throughout the year, and when produced timely and can provide a reliable and regular source of income to the producers. The results established that annual rainfall showed some anomalies which gave evidence portraying the varying and unpredictable nature of the rainfall patterns in the study area. The study gave the evidence that rainfall had some statistically significant positive relationship with tomato yields. An increase in rainfall caused a significant variation in tomato yields with some confounding variables such as soil type, pests, disease, and application of certified seeds, irrigation, tomato variety and regular weeding held constant. Hence this means that even though tomato needs water, excessive rainfall or prolonged drought period is detrimental to the tomato crop resulting to low yields. High yields of the tomato resulted to low prices in line with law of demand and supply.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v9i8.1948

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