Soil fertility degradation remains the major biophysical cause of declining per capita crop production on smallholder farms in Central Kenya highlands. A study was conducted to compare farmers’ perception and biophysical data on selected water harvesting and integrated soil fertility management technologies on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L.) production in Central highlands of Kenya. Three hundred and seventy one smallholder farmers were invited to evaluate thirty six plots laid out in Partially Balanced Incomplete Block Design (PBIBD) replicated three times. The treatment which was ranked best overall rated as ‘good’ by the farmers was farmers practice with a mean score of (2.78) and yielding (3.5 t/ha) under sorghum alone plus external soil amendment of 40 kg P /ha+20 kg N /ha. This was closely followed by tied ridges and contour furrows overall rated as ‘good’ by the farmers under sorghum alone plus external soil amendment of 40 kg P /ha+20 kg N /ha+manure 2.5 t/ha and 40 kg P /ha+40 kg N /ha+manure 5 t/ha both with a mean score of (2.7) and yielding (3.0 t/ha) and (2.9 t/ha) respectively. Generally, all experiment controls were overall scored as ‘poor’ yielding as low as 0.3 t/ha to 0.6 t/ha. Therefore, integration minimal addition of organic and inorganic inputs on highly valued traditional crops with adequate rainfall under normal farmers practice in semi arid lands could be considered as an alternative option contribution to food security in central highland of Kenya.
Key words: Food security, water harvesting, integrated soil fertility management, Central Kenya.