Participatory On-farm Research (POR) Kenya

As an additional component to the long-term farming systems comparison experiments in Kenya, the participatory on-farm research (POR) activity for organic farmers was started in January 2009.
In a first step, group discussions were held, focusing on problem analysis and prioritisation together with farmers and subsequent brainstorming on possible activities to address them.

Improving manure composting techniques
Lack of sufficient manure to be used in organic farming was mentioned as one of the priority problems of Kangari farmers. As a consequence, the project team agreed to work towards the objective of increasing quality and quantity of organic manures available to organic farmers.
The two main manures used in the area are fresh, farm-own manure from dairy cows ("Boma") and dry manure from Masai grazing areas. As composting was a relatively new technique in Kangari, the only well-known technique was the 63-day composting in heaps. Hence, a comparison trial with box composting, which is said to reduce duration of compost maturity to 14 days, was introduced. The trial includes Boma and Masai manure, in the form of 63-day and 14-day composts.
Treatment details (6.5 KB)
A mother-baby trial design was used. The mother trial (on-station) consisted of all six treatments. The farmers were free to select the treatments of interest for the on-farm baby trials at their homes. It was decided to accompany the activities with trainings on animal housing, manure handling and composting, as all are crucial for efficient composting.

Improving phosphate rock application and beneficial use of farm biomass
In 2010 additional mother trials were established based on feedback from farmers. The new trials deal with i) the agronomic and economic importance of an improved phosphate rock application and ii) the most beneficial use of scarce farm biomass.
Treatment details (11.0 KB)