- Sorghum is a drought-tolerant crop that is largely grown in Western, northern Rift Valley, Eastern and some parts of Central.
- Kenyan breweries rely on the crop as a key ingredient in beer production, which drives up its demand to up to 30,000 metric tonnes annually.
More than 1,000 small-scale farmers are set to benefit from a sorghum growing programme in Murang’a county.
The programme that is being implemented by the county government will see the farmers sell their produce to East African Breweries Limited at the price of Sh48 per kilogramme.
The county government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the company to have all produce produced by the farmers bought by the brewer.
The devolved unit will provide certified seeds to farmers who will then be trained on how to tend to the crop by the company.
Governor Irungu Kang’ata who launched the programme at Ihura stadium urged farmers to take advantage of the programme to diversify their farming and boost their income.
The programme will be implemented in the lower parts of the county, including Gatanga, Kandara and Maragua subcounties, that experience dry weather and reduced agricultural activities.
Sorghum is a drought-tolerant crop that is largely grown in Western, northern Rift Valley, Eastern and some parts of Central.
Kenyan breweries rely on the crop as a key ingredient in beer production, which drives up its demand to up to 30,000 metric tonnes annually and provides a ready market for the produce.
It requires minimal inputs such as fertiliser and pesticides which reduce the cost of production for farmers and adds to their profit margin.
EABL’s corporate relations director Eric Kiniti said the governor approached the company for the deal three months ago and an MOU signed last month.
He said the crop will do well in the southern parts of the county and provide farmers with an extra cash crop that will improve their lives.
“We are happy to work with Murang’a farmers and will be buying all sorghum they produce. Our people will be working with you to guide you on the best farming practices,” Kiniti told farmers.
The county government has also started issuing Boma Rhodes grass seeds to farmers to help them start producing hay.
Governor Kang’ata said most dairy farmers source for hay from other counties despite a growing demand.
“We want farmers from the highlands to buy grass from the lower parts of the county and this programme will accelerate that,” he said, adding that Amica Sacco and EABL are also partners in the programme.
Amica Sacco CEO James Mbui and Kiniti lauded the programme, saying their partnership will empower farmers while supporting the two firms.
The county administration is already implementing a subsidies programme that sees more than 20,000 dairy farmers receive an extra Sh3.50 per litre of milk sold
More than 1,000 mango farmers also receive a Sh7 subsidy for every kilogramme of mangoes sold through Lower Murang’a Co-operative Society.