The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization has introduced a new pigeon pea (mbaazi) variety that does not fertilizer and is suitable for the short season rains with potential yields of 1300kg per hectare.
The variety (mbaazi 2) matures in 150 to 180 days and does well in lower attitudes of less than 1000m above sea level. It has a spreading growth habit and can attain a height of 240cm.
To grow this variety, prepare the land till the soil is finer. The seed rate is 20 to 25 kg per ha (eight to 10 kg per acre). Plant in furrows/holes by placing at least five seeds per hole at a depth of four to five centimeters and cover the soil firmly in cases where there is little moisture.
Two weeks after emergence of the seedlings, space the crops to a space of two seedlings per hole so as to improve the growth rate of the remaining plants.
Pigeon peas. Courtesy
For mono cropping, space at the rate of 100cm between rows and 50cm between plants. If intercropped with other crops such as maize, sorghum or millet you can sow one row of pigeon peas followed by one roe of maize interchangeably at a distance of 90cm between maize/sorghum and pigeon pea rows.
Keep the plants free of weeds by weeding during the first two to three weeks after planting them. Second weeding is done two weeks after the first one. Subsequent weeding will depend on the amount of rainfall and the amount of weeds in the farm.
Major pests that may attack pigeon peas include thrips, aphids, pod fly and bruchids.
To control thrips and aphids, spray with karate, Sherpa plus or thiodan pesticides before the crop flowers.
During storage, bruchids are the main pests that attack the produce which can be controlled by using super actellic at the rate of 50g per 90kg bag.
Green mature pods may be harvested for grain food. Harvest dry grains when most of the pods are dry and have turned brown.
Harvest dry grain in the sun and sort them. The crop can be consumed in form of whole grain or split pea.
According to KALRO, Kenya produces an estimated 73,000 tonnes of pigeon peas each year with the produced mostly exported to the Indian market.
Bettagrains.com reports that a kilo of pigeon peas in Kenya is at Sh60 per kilo. In this farmers can earn Sh78,000 per ha.