ABSTRACT of natural vegetation and soil fertility restoration

ABSTRACT

 

Agriculture
sector has remained the backbone of the Kenya national economy with direct
relationship between its performance and overall national economic growth. Soil
fertility is of great essence for sustainable and increased crop production. Traditionally
in sub-Sahara Africa, fields were left fallow for a number of years for
regrowth of natural vegetation and soil fertility restoration but with
increased population density associated with demand for land, fallow periods
are no longer an option hence creating a need for fertilizer application. Use
of Inorganic fertilizers has positive impact of increased crop productivity over
a short period of time but they have become expensive and if not properly used
they pollute the environment. Recent studies has shown that consumers are now
concerned of food safety and they are demanding for organically produced foods
hence there is a need to use organic fertilizer in crop production. This study
focuses on the use of insect based bio-fertilizer as organic manure for
production of French beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), Kales (Brassica
oleracea) and Tomatoes (Solanum esculentum). Spent grain (a by-product generated in the
beer-brewing process which consists of grain husks obtained as solid residue
after the production of wort), will be fed to black soldier fly larvae
to obtain their waste which will then be composted and later used to grow
crops.  The objective of this study is: To
establish the potential of Black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens) in accelerating composting of spent grain, to
evaluate the effect of insect based organic fertilizers on plant growth and yield
and to determine the effect of insect based bio-fertilizers on quality of yield.
The experiment will be laid out at Kenyatta university farm and in a greenhouse
at icipe Kasarani in a Randomized
complete block design with four replicates. Treatments will be: 1.Composted black soldier fly waste, 2. Composted Spent
grain, 3. Inorganic fertilizer (DAP), 4.Organic fertilizer (Evergrow), 5.No
Fertilizer. The parameters to be measured during composting are: pH, Temperature,
Moisture content and Duration of composting. After completion of composting
samples of compost will be taken to laboratory for analysis of total and
available Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, organic Carbon and C/N Ratio. Crops
will be grown using this fertilizer and the following will be measured: Plant height, Stem diameter, Number of leaves, Surface area
of leaves, Number of flowers, Number of pods and seeds per pod, Number and
weight of fruits. Samples of the harvested vegetable will be taken to the lab
for analysis of moisture content, crude protein, crude
fat, ash content, crude fiber, carbohydrates, total energy, minerals and heavy
metals. Data will be collected and subjected to
analysis of variance (ANOVA) using a Mixed Models procedure of SAS version 9.4
statistical package at 95% level of significance.

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