FOOD SECURITY

Farmers begin planting for new maize season

Complain that the prices of farm inputs had increased as has the cost of labour.

In Summary

• The dusk-to-dawn curfew has caused delays in the transportation of fertiliser and farm inputs from Mombasa to the region.  

• Farmers and governors had asked the government to classify the transportation of farm inputs as an essential service. 

A newly planted maize farm on the outskirts of Eldoret town
A newly planted maize farm on the outskirts of Eldoret town
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Farmers in the North Rift region have begun planting maize for the new season as they aim to bounce back from a decline in production last year. 

Last year's maize production was 33 million bags, a decline of 11 million bags from 44 million harvested in 2018.

 

“We hope the weather will remain favourable so that the crops germinate and grow normally for good harvests,” Uasin Gishu Agriculture executive Samwel Yego said.

 

The dusk-to-dawn curfew has caused delays in the transportation of fertiliser and farm inputs from Mombasa to the region.  

Farmers and governors had asked the government to classify the transportation of farm inputs as an essential service. 

The move would allow lorries ferrying the inputs including fertiliser to operate during the curfew hours.

“We are happy that the majority of farmers in our region have been able to access farm inputs and plant crops. We urge those who are still planting to do so while observing the Covid-19 control measures,” Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said. 

Some farmers have complained that the prices of farm inputs had increased as has the cost of labour as many workers are forced to keep away due to Covid-19 fears.

Governor Patrick Khaemba said the government should support all farmers in the county to plant food crops to keep the nation food secure.  

“It’s important that even as we fight the coronavirus, farmers should plant as usual so that we have enough food even after we are done with Covid-19,” Khaemba said.

 
 

Governor Stephen Sang also praised Nandi farmers for braving many challenges to ensure the country remains secure in food supplies.

 “The government should support farmers to quickly plant food crops as we deal with the virus,” Sang said.

The National Cereals and Produce Board has said it is helping farmers to comply with all measures on the control of Covid-19.

North Rift NCPB manager Gilbert Rotich said they have been communicating with farmers through mobile phones and social media networks .

 

(edited by o. owino)