Kenya

Coast farmers receive certified seeds

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By BOZO JENJE

In Summary

  • About 2,300 farmers from Kilifi and Mombasa counties who live below a dollar a day have benefited from the scheme.

  • The county had also distributed cassava cuttings with the aim of providing an alternative source of livelihood.

  • Mombasa County had sent a group of 45 farmers and 10 agricultural officers to Central Kenya to familiarise themselves with best farming practice.

Farmers from two counties at the Coast have received certified seeds to boost food production and avert famine.

After a long drought spell caused by delayed rains, about 2,300 farmers from Kilifi and Mombasa counties who live below a dollar a day have benefited from the scheme.

The farmers were given maize, cowpeas and green gram seeds to diversify their cropping in case of crop failure during the planting season.

Kilifi County Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries executive, Katana Menza said the move is to cushion farmers against crop failure caused by delayed rains that were expected late March 2014.

Mr Menza said the county had also distributed cassava cuttings with the aim of providing an alternative source of livelihood.

“We selected theses seed varieties that mature in short periods. These are suitable for the arid and semi-arid areas that receive minimum amounts of rainfall,” Mr Menza said.

FERTILIZER DISTRIBUTED

He said the county had distributed 80 tons of seeds and 5,000 bags of fertilizer to farmers in all sub counties.

“Farmers from Ganze and Magarini are expected to harvest a better crop after a total loss of their seedlings after early planting,” he said.

“With the resumption of rains late May, it is our expectation that the harvest will bring good returns,” he added.

In Mombasa County, the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries executive Anthony Njaramba said to contain the food shortage crisis, a fund had been set aside to partner with farmers to cultivate 300 acres this season.

Mr Njaramba said the county had supported farmers with tractors to prepare their land and farm inputs to improve output.

“We were cautious and vigilant on the weather patterns. Through advice from the Agricultural officers and the metrology department, we took advantage of scientific methods to inform our farmers on the when to start planting,” Mr Njaramba said.

BOOST PRODUCTION

He said about 300 to 500 farmers from the county had benefited from the incentives that would boost crop production this financial year.

“We have decided to encourage farmers to use drought resistant seeds and practice mixed farming together with fishing for them to benefit from the venture,” he said.

Mr Njaramba said the county was adopting a strategy to bridge the gap between production and consumption since for a long time Mombasa residents have relied on food supplies from other counties.

To overcome the deficit, he said, the county had set a budget of Sh37 million to put 60 per cent of the agricultural land under irrigation.

At the same time, the Mombasa County had sent a group of 45 farmers and 10 agricultural officers to Central Kenya to familiarise themselves with best farming practices as a way to enrich their skills.