Terra Preta de Indio
Biochar Soil Management
Content: J. Lehmann
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Runoff Irrigation and Fruit Tree Production
During our experimentation in Northern Kenya from 1994 to 1996 (more details) we found the runoff irrigation system to be highly successful for securing crop yields. We therefore expanded our activities to test the production of commercial fruit trees, such as orange, papaya, citrus, mango, and guava (1). Especially guava and papaya performed surprisingly well under the prevailing hot and dry climate.
The experiments were stimulated by the fact that previous efforts to implement runoff irrigation systems in Northern Kenya and in other tropical drylands have often failed due to lack of adoption. The motivation for testing runoff irrigation with fruit trees arises from the fact that the monetary revenue of fruits is much larger than that of subsistence crops such as sorghum or beans.
Image of fruit tree production in a runoff irrigation system.

The studies comprised experimentation on the establishment of papaya under different irrigation and fertilization regimes and on the economic feasibility of runoff irrigation with fruit trees.
  • Costs and Benefits of Adopting Runoff Irrigation Systems
    (Report written by Clemens Benicke, Principle Investigator Johannes Lehmann)

  • Water and Nutrient Management of Young Papaya Plantations in Drylands (upcoming)

(1) This project was led by Johannes Lehmann and financed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR through the German Association for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).