Over 15,000 farmers in Laikipia County have benefitted from 30 tonnes of certified maize seeds for planting donated by Bayer East Africa Company as part of cushioning them from the effects of Covid-19.
Bayer East Africa Representative Peter Kiburi said that the maize seeds distributed was a fast-maturing variety that was also drought resistant as well as good for making silage for livestock.
“This DK 8031 variety matures in three months and requires less rainfall unlike other varieties and is, therefore, best suited for low rainfall areas such as Laikipia,” Kiburi said.
He added that the maize variety yields up to 28 to 32 bags per acre of land and urged farmers in the area to embrace the variety that produces eight bags from a two kilograms bag.
Laikipia Deputy Governor John Mwaniki while flagging off the distribution of the seeds to farmers in the region on Tuesday at the National Cereals and Produce Board stores in Nanyuki town said that the county had identified 3,000 farmers in five wards who would benefit from the seeds in readiness for the short rains planting season that starts in November.
The Deputy Governor urged farmers to adopt best farming techniques such as embracing technology to increase yields and profits.
“A sack of maize goes for Sh. 2,500 if you multiply that by the 15,000 farmers who will receive the 30 tonnes of seeds, it will translate to about Sh. 300 million locally that will be made after the maize is harvested and sold,’ the Deputy Governor said.
Mwaniki further said that the department of agriculture had been tasked with embarking on a crackdown of unscrupulous traders in the area selling uncertified seeds to farmers that have led to huge losses.
Marmanet ward MCA James Kanyutu who is also the chair of the County Assembly Committee on agriculture welcomed the donation saying that local farmers stood to reap huge returns from the new maize variety.
By Martin Munyi