Farmers embrace crop diversification – Kenya News Agency
More than 2000 farmers in Uasin Gishu County have adopted the diversification of high-value crops such as coffee, grafted avocados, tissue culture bananas and macadamia in order to achieve economic stability instead of relying solely on the But.
According to Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, he pioneered high-value crops as economic crops to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the county and gradually reduce the dependence of farmers on corn production and wheat and thus protect them from fluctuations in corn prices.
“As crop prices become less stable in our increasingly competitive markets and growing conditions become more difficult, many farmers are struggling to ensure their financial security. However, we urged our people to embrace pluriculture whereby farmers can protect themselves from the uncertainty of corn prices by growing more than one type of crop, ”Governor Mandago said. Avocado and coffee cultivation is slowly taking shape across the county with seedlings distributed to farmers so far estimated at 75,000 avocados and over 150,000 other promotional crops such as coffee, macadamia and bananas. tissue culture.
This year’s avocado seedling grant distributed by the county will benefit 2,626 farmers across the county covering 925 acres.
Governor Mandago pointed out that certified seed costs 450 shillings and that farmers who have applied for 100 or more plants will be rewarded with a seedling subsidy worth 45,000 shillings.
“An avocado tree gives 500 fruits. If you have 100, you collect 50,000 fruits. Even if you sell the fruit for Sh 10, you earn half a million shillings for an acre, ”he noted.
County coffee official Mr. Maritim Nicholas said the number of farmers requesting promotional crop seedlings was gradually increasing.
“Our farmers are asking for coffee, macadamia and bananas in large numbers on a daily basis and it’s impressive,” he noted.
“Coffee, macadamia nuts and avocado are lately regarded as agricultural gems following the demand of international markets. Our farmers are adopting this idea in a positive way and will eventually allow them to form cooperatives to sell their products, which will give them bargaining power, ”he added.
The county has so far distributed 143,000 grafted avocados, 25,000 grafted macadamias, 55,500 tissue-grown bananas and 150,000 coffee plants.
County Agriculture Director Mr. Reuben Seroney said that in order to create a sufficient quantity of seedlings, the county has established a chebororwa nursery which is used for the nature of the seedlings before they are distributed to various farmers.
Mr Seroney said the Agriculture Department received $ 1.5 million to purchase 200 kg of coffee beans from the Coffee Research Institute (CRI). It is estimated that the seeds will produce 600,000 plants and will be distributed in July next year.
Uasin Gishu’s limousine farm was among the largest corn producers who have since embraced diversification.
Limo Farm manager Mr. Patrick Limo said they had lost 10 acres of beans due to an unprecedented drought and the decision to switch to high value crops was driven by climate change, mediocrity of products and competitive market.
“We are currently planting coffee on 30 acres of land and avocado is planted on 14 acres. We are also planting tree tomatoes as a booster to expand our financial basket and other cover crops that will not only improve our economic planning, but also improve soil fertility, ”Limo said.
As chairman of the North Rift Economic Block (NOREB), Governor Mandago said he is advocating for lasting change that will improve household incomes and the region as a whole and also create wealth and jobs in the long run. term.
By Hassan Adan Ali