Effect of Different Spacing Intervals on Growth and Yield of Cowpea Varieties in Kilifi County, Kenya
Nderi, Leonard Mugendi
Njoka, Ellis Mbaka
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Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata [L.] walp) is an ancient leguminous plant that is indigenous to Africa. It was domesticated in sub-Saharan Africa and is now widely adapted and grown throughout the world. Cowpea is commonly cultivated in the Southern United States, Middle East, Africa, Asia, and throughout the tropics and subtropics. In Kenya, cowpea is the most important grain legume after common beans and pigeon peas. In Kilifi County and the entire Coastal Kenya, cowpea is considered as the most important African leafy vegetable (ALV), being a major source of dietary protein, especially for the rural and urban poor. The major constraints facing cowpea production in Coastal Kenya include unavailability of quality seed, lack of technical packages, low plant population and general lack of awareness of the potential the crop holds in mitigating poverty and malnutrition challenges in the community. A field experiment was carried out at Mtwapa Agricultural Training Centre (ATC) demonstration farm to determine the effect of different spacing intervals on growth and yield of cowpea varieties. The experiment was laid out in a Randomized Complete Block Design (RCBD) with three replicates. It consisted of four cowpea varieties namely Ken kunde, Katumani 80 (K80), KVU 27-1 and Machakos 66 (M66) and three spacing intervals (40 cm x 20 cm, 50 cm x 20 cm and 60 cm x 20 cm). The results showed that KVU 27-1 had the highest mean pod length, mean 100 seed weight and mean total seed weight per plot. Machakos 66 had the highest mean above ground biomass whereas Ken Kunde had the highest mean harvest index. It is suggested that cowpea variety KVU 27-1 and spacing interval 50 cm x 20 cm be adopted in cultivation of cowpeas in Kilifi County, for maximum grain yield production.
International Journal For Research In Agricultural And Food Science