African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

Growth performance of bamboo in tobacco-growing regions in South Nyanza, Kenya

J. K. Kibwage1*, G. W. Netondo1, A. J. Odondo1, B. O. Oindo1, G. M. Momanyi1 and F. Jinhe2
1Maseno University, School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Tobacco Control Research Project Office, P. O. Box 333, Maseno, Kenya. 2International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), P. O. Box 100102-86, Beijing, China.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 15 October 2008
  •  Published: 31 October 2008


The study was carried out on 120 field experimentation sites where 2420 bamboo cuttings were planted under the same natural tobacco growing conditions in five different zones (that is, zone A = hillside/steep sloping farmland, B = hillside/gentle sloping farmland, C = flat farmland/not wetland/ riverbank, D = flat farmland/wetland and E = homestead) based on each farmer’s preference during the short rain season between September and October 2006. The experiment comprised of 1210 giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus giganteus) and 1210 common bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris). Each cutting was planted in a cubical hole measuring 0.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 m. Each farmer was given 20 bamboo cuttings (that is, 10 each of giant bamboo and common bamboo). Out of the 20 cuttings planted, five clumps of each species were randomly selected and tagged for monitoring survival rates, number of culms, culm heights and culm diameter. Frequency tabulations were used to present the data. Both species of bamboo perform well in gentle slopes and flat farmlands but not on wetlands.  A part from the wetlands, survival rates of B. vulgaris and D. giganteus were ranging between 69 and 94% respectively. B. vulgaris established faster and withstood water logging than D. giganteus. The findings show that the two species of bamboo can do well in soil and agro-climatic conditions similar to those of tobacco. To replace tobacco with bamboo in Kenya, this experiment needs to be replicated in the other 10 remaining tobacco-growing regions in the country. Capacity building will be very important through training and farmers empowerment in bamboo farming and processing.


Key words: Tobacco, bamboo, growth performance, Kenya