Darius O. Andika, Jane Akinyi Ogada, Patrick O Hayombe
Abstract: Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free floating freshwater plant of the family Pontederiaceae that has proven to be a significant economic and ecological burden to many sub-tropical and tropical regions of the world. Water hyacinth has infested the fresh waters of Lake Victoria threatening the ecological health of the lake, and the livelihoods of lakeshore communities that depend on it for their income. Many methods have been used to completely eradicate the weed from the lake which include, mechanical / physical removal of the hyacinth, biological control and chemical control but none of these has been able to eradicate the weed from Lake Victoria. This study therefore endeavored to determine an integration of water hyacinth management and control with community involvement in the production of liquid organic fertilizer. The specific objectives were to determine the chemical composition of water hyacinth, to prepare liquid samples of water hyacinth in different concentrations for application in the vegetable farm and to determine the responses of crotalaria ochroleuca vegetable to water hyacinth as a liquid organic fertilizer, The study area was along the beaches of Kisumu, Homabay and Kendubay. Chemical composition of water hyacinth was determined by the use of Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Prepared samples of the hyacinth were administered along with the chemical fertilizer (DAP) to crotalaria ochroleuca vegetables planted in pots and placed in a greenhouse to determine crop responses on water hyacinth applications as fertilizer. Completely Randomized Design (CRD) and a one-way ANOVA technique were used to analyze data. Water hyacinth samples from the three study areas contained significant amounts of chemical components. These were, Chlorine, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Sulphur, Copper, Calcium, Magnesium and Lead. It was found that at 5 % level of significance, one liter water hyacinth sample significantly increased the plant height, number of leaves per plant and the leaf area, of crotalaria ochroleuca vegetable.. The study recommends that the government should encourage the production of organic fertilizer from hyacinth and involve the community in their production since these will empower the community economically and help rid the lake of the weed.
Keywords: water hyacinth, chemical composition, Liquid fertilizer, crotalaria ochroleuca