R. O. Nyambati, S.O. Ojung’a, P. Gachie and M. M. Okeyo
In Kenya, more than 60% of the population depends directly on forests and woodlands for their energy needs, wood for furniture and construction, as well as food and other non-timber forest products such as fruits, nuts and medicinal plants among others. Even though fruits are widely planted and consumed in the daily diet of local people and also as a source of income, little attention has been given to enhancing their production and commercialization. This study examined the adopted and grown fruit tree among small holder farmers and challenges they face in undertaking this agroforestry practice. The study employed a survey research design, which entails the description, recording, analyzing and reporting of current status of on-farm fruit trees. A multistage sampling was employed for household survey selection, where 906 households were randomly sampled within Busia, Siaya and Bungoma counties. The results indicated that major fruit trees grown include Persea america and Mangifera indica in both Bungoma and Busia counties, while Citrus sinensis and Mangifera indica fruits are common in Siaya. There were significant differences (F= 4.724, d.f = 16, p=0.02<0.05) between the different numbers of preferred fruits among small scale farmers. From the study, it is evident that there is a great potential fruit production leading to improved income generation through sale in local as well as export markets, food security and improved livelihoods for communities.
Keywords: Agroforestry; Fruit trees; Nutritional benefits; Western Kenya.