African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Participatory sunflower production, technology dissemination and value addition in Southwest Kenya

N. E. K. Okoko1, M. J. Mahasi2*, N. Kidula1, M. Ojowi1 and F. Makini1
  1Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) – Kisii, Kenya. 2Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) – Njoro, P. O. Private Bag Njoro, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 09 April 2008
  •  Published: 30 June 2008



Sunflower is widely adapted and one of the major oil crops grown in Southwest Kenya. It is regarded as a high value cash crop and a source of high qualityedible vegetable oil in Kenya. Southwest Kenya lies within the Lake Victoria region and is suitable for sunflower production. During Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) farmers  attributed the low production to poor agronomic practices, inadequate pest and disease control, lack of high yielding varieties, decline in soil fertility, shortage of good quality seeds at planting, low producer prices, shortage of sunflower seed for processing, lack of access to credit, lack of markets and market information, weak research - extension – farmer linkages and low adoption of developed technologies. To address some of these constraints, on-farm research activities were undertaken by Kenya agricultural Research Institute (KARI) using participatory research approach targeting small-scale resource challenged farmers who are vulnerable to food and nutritional insecurity. The PRA was favoured because the top-down approach of technology development and dissemination had led to poor adoption of technologies. The objectives of the project were; to scale up promising sunflower varieties, enhance value addition activities and to link farmer marketing groups to existing and new market opportunities. The treatments were; intra – row planting, pure stands (75 x 30 cm and 70 x 30 cm), alternate planting (1 row sunflower and 1 row maize) and two rows sunflower and two rows maize. The results indicate that pure stands had significantly (P ≤ 0.05) higher yields of both seed and oil than other treatments. However during farmer evaluation single alternate (1 row sunflower with 1 row maize) was ranked first followed by pure stand (75 x 30 cm) and intra row in a decreasing order. The single alternate row was ranked first based on food security, bird control and income generation since it provides both maize for household use and sunflower as a cash crop. Therefore this technology should be recommended for up scaling to more farmers in the region.


Key words: Sunflower, PRA, scaling up, value addition.