Tea growers graduate from farmers field school
BY MAURICE ALAL
More than 384 small-scale tea farmers have graduated from the Farmers Field Schools in Vihiga county.
The programme, initiated by the Kenya Tea Development Agency, is aimed at providing farmers with skills to enable them produce better quality and higher yields.
Alice Kafwa, the Vihiga county director of agriculture, said the programme will facilitate massive production and improve farmers’ income.
Kafwa urged farmers to diversify their agriculture by growing other crops and rearing animals which will supplement their income from tea.
Farmers are trained in groups over a period of 12 months, covering various approaches to farming and learning from experiments in their own fields and from each other.
Peter Mbadi, KTDA senior manager agriculture services, noted that many farmers still use old fashioned methods to grow their crops, often in poor working conditions, which result in poor yields.
“Empowering them on sustainable farming in the long run will improve tea husbandry practices, leading to increased tea production,” Mbadi said.
“What started as a pilot programme in 2006 targeting four factories has quickly scaled to cover all the 66 KTDA-managed factories. To date, more than 48,000 farmers have benefited from the learning programme carried by about 1,700 FFSs,” said KTDA director Javan Mukavale.
West Pokot county invests in fish farming
BY MARYANN CHAI
More than 100 fish farmers in West Pokot county have benefited from 1,000 fingerlings donated by the county government.
The move is aimed at convincing the locals to embrace fish farming.
Speaking in Kapenguria town, the deputy county fisheries officer Jackson Limang’ura said more farmers will benefit in a week’s time.
Limang’ura said an hatchery is under construction to ensure that the importation cost of fingerlings from Sagana is reduced.
He said in 2014, farmers earned more than Sh3 million from the sale of 20 tonnes of fish.
“Fish farming is an income generating project which does not demand a lot of capital to start and I encourage farmers to embrace it as it can do well in the area,” he said.
Tilapia and catfish, sourced from Turkwel dam, are popular in the area. Most of the ponds are community owned.
“Lack of technical skills and the purchase of fingerlings from wrong sources are the major challenges faced by the farmers,” Limang’ura added.
He urged the locals to embrace fish farming, since it only takes six months to mature and has a ready market.