Local manufacturer Bidco Africa is seeking to engage more than 50,000 farmers across the country by next year to grow soybeans and sunflowers .
The company has already contracted 25,000 farmers and plans to double that in a bid to address the current shortage as demand soars while production remains low.
According to industry players, the country has a high deficit of the two crops and is relying on neighboruing Uganda and Tanzania to bridge the gap.
Company head of agribusiness John Kariuki said sunflower and soybeans were drought resistant crops which could grow in any part of the country.
The company requires over 10,000 metric tonnes of sunflower and soya annually against a supply of an estimated 5,000 metric tonnes.
This emerged during a farmers’ field day in Kikopey, Gilgil where the company is partnering with local farmers in producing sunflower.
“Bidco will contract the farmers, offer them technical support, logistics and an uptake market once the product is ready for harvesting,” he said.
Michael Nderitu who is contracting the farmers said that Gilgil had the environment favourable to grow the crop.
He said that crops on eight acres which had been put on trial had performed beyond their expectation and hence the move to seek more farmers.
“Sunflower unlike maize does not require heavy rains, it’s planted for two seasons and its proceeds are way higher,” he said.