The Kenya Seed Company is advising farmers in the North Rift to stop sub dividing farms arguing that such activities were hindering use of modern farming technology.
Speaking during a Kenya Seed Company field day at Elgon Downs, the Kenya seed Company Managing Director Azariah Soi attributed the drop in seed production to dwindling land sizes in the region.
“This year we will only produce 21million kilos of seeds against the 39 million we had projected,” he said adding that planting of quality seed needed use of modern technology.
The Principal Secretary for the State Department for Irrigation Prof. Fred Segor instructed extension officers to encourage farmers on the use of modern farming for higher productivity.
He commended the Kenya Seed Company for their collaboration with the University of Nairobi adding that research had led to the production of high yielding seeds.
“We need to transfer this technology from the laboratory, from farms, from pilot projects to the farmers,” he advised.
The PS challenged county governments to employ more extension officers to impart knowledge to famers at the grassroots.
Among best practices Prof. Segor wants farmers to embrace include, tilling the farm for maximum production.
He also encouraged farmers to embrace use of irrigation to cushion them against adverse dry seasons.
The PS said the government is determined to increase the acreage of land that is under irrigation in the country.
“This is possible through investment in water storage facilities especially in Arid and Semi-Arid (ASAL) areas,” he added.
North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) chairman who is also Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago said extension services are core but noted that the transfer of knowledge and training still lies with the national government.
Mandago called for partnership between the county governments in the region and the state corporations such as Kenya Seed Company Limited, Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) among others where expertise can be tapped to enhance a food security.
“We all know that food security is one of the government’s pillars for the next five years and what we need to do is pull together to achieve this noble agenda,” he pointed out.
The governor disclosed that such programs as field days are capacity building forums to make Kenya food secure urging the companies to take such events to other counties for sensitizing all farmers across the country.
He said that the government is looking for ways through which they will help farmers to market their maize.
A bag of maize is currently selling at sh. 1000 down from sh. 2500 farmers were selling to middlemen last year.
By Pauline Ikanda