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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 33: II Eastern Africa Horticultural Symposium

VEGETABLE VARIETY TESTING IN KENYA - TOMATOES AND CAPSICUMS

Authors:   J.H.G. Waithaka, J.N. Warui
Abstract:
The varied climate and soils of Kenya are favourable to the growth of a wide range of vegetables. In the higher altitudes, temperate types of vegetable such as garden peas, asparagus and cabbages grow and yield well. In the warmer middle altitudes tomatoes, potatoes, beans, carrots, and many other vegetables are produced in large quantities while in the dry low altitudes and in the Coastal area capsicums and tomatoes are grown either under irrigation or during the rainy season only.

Vegetable cultivation has become an important activity in Kenya during recent years. Population expansion, urbanisation and rising standards of living have brought about an increasing demand for vegetables for the domestic market; vegetable exports to European markets have also expanded.

Plant breeding facilities for vegetable crops are not currently available in Kenya and seeds are therefore imported of cultivars bred and developed in overseas countries. Current work is consequently directed mainly to the testing of imported cultivars under various local climatic conditions in order to assess their suitability in terms of yield, quality and resistance to diseases and pests.

Vegetables can only be grown successfully in Kenya where the annual rainfall exceeds 1100 mm and even in these areas irrigation is necessary.

The National Horticultural Research Station has undertaken the testing of tomato and capsicum cultivars during recent years and some of the results achieved are outlined in this paper.

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