Actual landuse advice in marginal areas of SE-Kenya by atmosphere-ocean-teleconnection

G. Frenken, Berthold Hometz, Ralph Jaetzold, W. Willems


The major objective of this study is to present an agroecologically based system of forecasting yield potentials and cropping risks for definded crops in the semiarid  drylands of SE-Kenya by means of atmosphere-ocean-teleconnection (El Nino Southern Oscillation Phenomenon = ENSO). Three distinct rainfall conditions during the short  rains, i.e. ENSO, Anti-ENSO and Normal were identified from calculations with a  rainfall  10  simulation model. Under ENSO rainfall conditions, rainfall was found to be above normal while the reverse was found for the Anti-ENSO conditions. These results from the rainfall simulation model were then used to estimate yield potentials under the three rainfall conditions by means of an agroecological simulation model (MARCROP) that was calibrated on the results of laboratory (University of Trier, Germany) and field (off- as well as on-farm) experiments at and near KARI/NRRC Kiboko, Kenya. From this analysis, it was found that farmers should already be informed as early as in August (before the onset of the short rains) about the expected rainfall conditions so that they are able to decide on the selection of crops and crop varieties for cultivation early enough. Drought resistant, short-cycle Tepary beans (Phaseolus avulifnlius) tumed out to be the best suited for Anti-ENSO and Normal conditions  when the cropping risk for high yielding but less adapted bean and maize varieties is  too high (e.g.: 1 out of 2 seasons is failing for Mwezi moja beans ——Phaseolus  vulgaris, GLP 1004). However, in ENSO years soil moisture conditions are sufficient to bring up Mwezi moja beans and maize (Katumani Composite B).

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