Contribution of different Farming Systems to Soil and Ecological Health in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya

Published ,March 2023

1st Eastern Africa Agroecology Conference


Dr. Janeth Chepkemoi 1, Prof. Richard Onwonga 1, Mr. Noel Templer 2, Mr. Elkana Kipkoech 3, Ms. Angela Gitau 1


Current agricultural practices in developing countries are dominated by the use of inorganic fertilizers caus-ing land degradation. Others include inapprpopriate tillage practices that destroy the soil structure and crop-ping practises that contribute to reduced crop diversity (Pagliai et al., 2004). The low soil fertility is majorly contributed by agricultural intensification particularly in developing countries due to the ever-increasing food demand for the rising population (Rezig et al., 2012). Nutrients can be partially returned through organic inputs which are essential for organic matter accumulation and farming systems sustainability (Omenda et al., 2019). As such, there is an urgent need to transition to more sustainable means of food production. Organic agriculture can play an important role in solving present and future challenges in food systems while also promoting the ecological health of such systems (Rahmann et al., 2017). In Kenya, smallholder farmers have adopted organic farming practices as a result, farm practices such as agroforestry, use of organic soil amendments, biological pest control and cropping systems such as crop rotation and intercropping have been widely adopted. Organic Manure improves soil physical properties and chemical properties such as pH and nutrient availability. Addi-tionally, it stimulates microbial activity, serving as food for microbes and hence enhancing soil health (Lindahl and Tunlid, 2015). Cropping systems adopted by farmers also have lasting impacts on ecological health of a farm system. Intercropping and crop rotation, on the other hand, have been shown to result in benefits that foster ecosystem health (Thierfelder, 2012). This study, therefore, sought to establish the extent with which such farm practises are utilised by farmers in Trans Nzoia county and hence their contribution to ecological health.

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