Effect of Total Solar Radiation and Rainfall on Yield of Different Tea (Camellia sinensis [L.] O. Kuntze) Clones at Two Sites in Kenya

Joseph Kimutai Langát


Tea cultivation is the leading cash crop in Kenya, making significant contribution to the economy. It is the single largest export commodity, accounting for about 26% of the country’s total export earnings. In 2017, the country got US$ 1.23 billion in foreign exchange earnings. However, tea production is affected by weather changes. Majority of research reporting the effects of weather on tea yields in Africa have mostly been carried out at single sites. This study investigated contribution of total solar radiation and rainfall to tea (Camellia sinensis) yields at two sites in Kenya. A split-plot layout study was conducted at two sites differing in altitude and climatic conditions in Kenya: Kangaita (0o30'S, 37o16'E, 2100 m.a.s.l.) and Kipkebe (0o17'S, 35o3'E, 1740 m.a.s.l.). Timbilil (0o22'S, 35o21'E, 2200 m.a.s.l.) was used as a reference site. Four tea clones of commercial and scientific interest in Kenya (AHP SC 31/37, EPK TN14-3, TRFK 301/5 and TRFK 31/8) were studied. Low radiation intensities at Timbilil in 2007 corresponded with low made tea yields at Kangaita (2.1 t ha-1 y-1) and Kipkebe (2.6 t ha-1 y-1) compared to 2008 (4.4 t ha-1 y-1 and 3.2 t ha-1 y-1) and 2009 (3.1 t ha-1 y-1 and 3.0 t ha-1 y-1) respectively when higher total radiation intensities were recorded. Statistical analysis done using two-way ANOVA (P = 0.05) for split plot design showed a strong positive correlation (r = 0.53) between total solar radiation, rainfall and mean made tea yield. Higher radiation and rainfall intensities yielded higher tea outputs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jas.v10n6p40

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail: jas@ccsenet.org

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