FERTILE SOILS, SCARCE WATER

Kalro to develop drought-resistant seeds for Asal counties

Is part of wider plans to relieve counties perceived to be food baskets, diversify options

In Summary

• DG says apart from developing drought resistant crops like green grams, they were also working on developing beef and dairy cattle breeds that will have high yields. 

• Kalro director of crop systems says they had started a six-month plan to train farmers in selected counties on new technologies. 

Maize breeders’ and researchers from Kalro view the new maize hybrid that is resistant to the Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) viral disease.
IMPROVING FOOD SECURITY: Maize breeders’ and researchers from Kalro view the new maize hybrid that is resistant to the Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) viral disease.
Image: GEORGE MURAGE

The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization is seeking drought-resistant seeds for use in arid and semi-arid lands. 

The move that will involve the organisation's scientists is meant to address food security and reduce over reliance on perceived food baskets. 

Kalro Director-General Eliud Kireger said the initiative was part of wider plans diversify options. 

Kireger said Asal counties had the potential to become the next frontiers of food production if supported with new farming technology. 

He termed the changes in climate coupled by global warming as a challenge that requires all sectors to work together. 

Kireger said a study conducted by Kalro indicated that the soil in Asal counties is fertile and only requires water— a scarce commodity— to produce food. 

"We are planning to introduce irrigation to these counties that account for 80 per cent of the country and this will herald a new beginning in food production,” he said. 

The DG was addressing the press during a meeting with farmers and extension officers from Asal counties on the new technological changes they intend to make at Kalro station in Naivasha. 

He said apart from developing drought resistant crops like green grams, they were also working on developing beef and dairy cattle breeds that will have high yields. 

Kireger said as part of improving livestock production, they are cross breeding Sahiwals with Zebu breeds for beef production. 

"The new breeds being bred at our Naivasha station will add more money to our farmers as the animals will feed less compared to what it is currently," he said. 

On her part, Kalro director of crop systems Lusike Wasilwa said they had started a six-month plan to train farmers in selected counties on new technologies. 

“Under this programme we shall be training trainers of trainers who will disseminate this knowledge to farmers and we are also keen to connect farmers with our researchers,” she said.

Edited by R.Wamochie