Agronomists have urged farmers in Nyandarua County to adopt the use of herbicides for inhibiting the growth of agricultural weeds.
Mr. Thiong`o Mathenge, an Agronomist based in Nyahururu town has said that there is the need for farmers to enhance the new resolution as it reduces cost by half and triples yields of crops.
According to Mathenge, this method is of great advantage over mechanical weed control due to its ease of application, which often saves on the cost of labor and increases production.
“The use of herbicides helps conserve the structure and composition of the soil which would have otherwise been damaged through ploughing as this would have left the field rough and cloddy,” he said.
He further raised a concern, stating that this method is likely to put tractor investors out of business since ploughing and harrowing are going to be outdated, also mentioning that farm casual labourers will rarely be required-perhaps only during planting and harvesting.
Statistics from the Agrochemicals Association of Kenya (AAK) show that, there are more than 50 registered brands of herbicides that have all been assessed by the Pest Control Products Board (PCPB), as required and found safe.
Mathenge, however, warned that farmers should be careful on purchasing chemicals from unauthorized agro-vet outlets in order not to fall prey to counterfeiters.
Martha Nduta, a dealer in farm inputs, said that there are herbicides that can be sprayed on farms either before or after planting.
“Some herbicides kill weeds selectively after the seeds germinate and can, therefore, be sprayed after planting,” said Nduta.
She further explained that there are various types of herbicides that are available but should be used according to the directions from the manufacturers, so as to attain the desired results.
She also noted that cases of farmers misusing herbicides have been witnessed hence calling upon the County Government and Agricultural Extension Officers to work closely together to ensure that farmers are well informed.
“Some farmers have been misusing some of these agrochemicals inappropriately. For instance, recently “Kausha ” and “Touch down” have been used to speed-up the drying up of wheat during the rainy season, which would have dried naturally, hence making it unfit for human consumption,” said Nduta.
By Teresia Mutuku and Kennedy Muchori