It is true that there is a shortfall in the production of food crops this season due to various factors, either natural or farmers’ faults.
Erratic climatic conditions, particularly drought has been a common problem that leads to poor yields or in extreme cases crop failure but according to Andrew Egala, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Green without Borders (GWB), the greater proportion is attributable to human blunders.
Egala, says the main underlying reason for low productivity is the application of inappropriate farming practices.
The CEO lauded the government’s effort of providing inputs subsidies but highlighted the need for beneficiaries to be enlightened on how to utilize them effectively for optimal yields.
“It is imperative that the agricultural extension officers visit the farmers to guide them on the activities such as land preparation, seed rate, crop management practices, harvesting and up to post-harvest handling,” he observed.
Egala regretted that in most instances the farms are poorly prepared, there is low or over-seed rating and incorrect fertilizer ratio, which leads to low productivity.
He stated that with the right management practices in place, an acre of maize can produce forty to 50-kilogramme bags against the current 10-15 bags.
“Our organization has partnered with other players to pass information and appropriate technologies to farmers in the western region through exhibitions as well as local public forums at the village level,” he said.
He stated that despite the reducing land sizes brought about by the increasing population, the farmers can still obtain maximum yields from their enterprises, so long as they apply the right farming technologies.
By Sammy Mwibanda