Analysis of Rainfall Variability on Potato Production in Kenya: A Case of Oljoro-orok Division
Keywords:rainfall variability, rainfall characteristics and potato production
AbstractThe paper analyses the trend of rainfall and its effects on potato yields in Oljoro-orok Division, Nyandarua County. The objective of the study was, to analyse seasonal and annual rainfall characteristics and correlate them with potato yields in Oljoro-orok division. Secondary data on rainfall and potato yields was collected from Nyahururu Meteorological Station and District Agriculture Office respectively for the period of eleven years. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive statistics namely frequencies, percentages and means with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 17.0. The results were presented using line and bar graphs, tables and circles. The findings were that annual rainfall and potato yield shows an increasing trend between 1999 and 2009. Rainfall has shown a decreasing trend during the long rain season and an increasing trend during short rain season. Rainfall variability is significant in both seasonal and annual trends ranging from +464.97 in 2007 to -239.63 in 2009 on the annual trend, +624 in 2007 to -360 in 2008 during the long rain season and +152 in 2006 to -171.6 in 2007 during the short rain season. From the findings, the researchers recommend that Soil and water management practices should be enhanced to reduce loss of moisture from the soil and increase soil water retention capacity during dry spell in the upper sides of the division. Sustainable management practices such as mulching, digging of trenches and earth dams and use of irrigation during the dry spell as an adaptation measure should be applied to cope with rainfall variation.
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