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August 21, 2018

Village crop advisers to educate Kiambu farmers on better yields

Maize plantation,Kiambu has developed a new model for advise farmers on appropriate varieties, crop spacing, fertiliser placement and how to combat armyworms.Photo file
Maize plantation,Kiambu has developed a new model for advise farmers on appropriate varieties, crop spacing, fertiliser placement and how to combat armyworms.Photo file

 

 

Kiambu has developed a new model to advise farmers on appropriate varieties, crop spacing, fertiliser placement and how to combat armyworms.

The Village Based Advisors is meant to improve extension services to farmers. It will also offer advice on good agricultural practices.

Deputy governor James Nyoro said the approach will ensure farmers have the appropriate variety at the right time before the rains and also have sound technical advice.

He said farmers have always had the "right medicine but do not know how to take it."

"Our analysis indicate that most of the farmers are not buying appropriate seeds for their ecological conditions. The VBAs come in to popularise the correct varieties within their villages,” Nyoro said.

He spoke on Friday during a field visit in Gatundu.The model will be piloted in Gatundu and Githunguri.

Nyoro, a former advisor of President Uhuru Kenyatta on food security, said the approach has been developed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa in partnership with the Kiambu cunty government, the Agricultural Market Development Trust, Farm Input Promotions Africa Limited and private sector seed and fertiliser companies.

We will be having a meeting with all the companies to ensure that seeds and fertilisers are available to the farmers by September in time for the upcoming rainy season,” Nyoro said.

 The associate program director at AGRA, Jane Ininda, said the village based advisors is the best way to educate farmers on best practices.

Village based advisor Damaris Kinyanjui said she has already trained 100 farmers.

Last season, I sold 300 packets of improved maize varieties and I'm hoping to sell 1,000 packets during the upcoming short rains season,” Kinyanjui said.

About 45 VBAs have been deployed. Kinyanjui said changing the farmers’ mindset had been a challenge.

"It is now easy after they saw transformation in terms of yields in neighbours' farms," she said.

County director of crops and irrigation Anne Koimburi said the approach will maximise productivity even with less acreage.

Productivity is the key issue. Farmers need to realise that it is not the size of land that matters but maximising on the space they have. From every hole in maize planting, you need to know the plant population and how much you are going to get from that maize plant,” she said.


 

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