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Banana farmers trained on better farming practices

Kisii county government, in partnership with Center for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) and Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT) has trained lead farmers in sustainable banana production practices.

The 12-day workshop at Kisii Agriculture Training Center (KATC) targeted farmers in 45 wards and county agricultural officers.

Speaking during the training, Dr. Naphis Bitange, Postdoctoral Fellow Systems Agronomist at CABI said that banana, a staple food crop rural and urban populations in Kenya, is predominantly grown by smallholder farmers.

Dr. Bitange is collaborating with smallholder farmers to enhance their banana orchard management skills, reducing losses due to plant health issues like diseases and pests, which affect bananas and to identify possible remedies.

He stated that, partnerships will promote exchange of knowledge, information and best practices related to banana production, pest management, crop improvement, trade facilitation among farmers and agricultural officers, including service providers attached to Kisii County co-operatives, the sub-county agricultural officers and other recognized and established entities like the County Agriculture Sector Steering Committee (CASSCOM) to promote sustainability.

The county executive for agriculture Elijah Obwori emphasized the importance of the CABI and MESPT partnerships in enhancing agricultural productivity in the county.

“I commend the two organizations for capacity building our lead farmers who will serve as valuable resources within their communities, disseminating information on acceptable agricultural practices to other farmers with the support of already existing structures,” he noted.

Obwori pointed out that service providers and lead farmers are crucial in disseminating learning technologies and creating jobs for youths, as they offer ideal model farms for good agricultural practices.

Currently, Kisii County has an estimated 6,350 hectares under banana crop production and is the leading producer of cooking banana varieties in Kenya.

By Mercy Osongo

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