Farmers across Embu County have started reaping big from training that has enabled them to grow crops efficiently using climate-resilient techniques from global research organization International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in collaboration with Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).
Through the project dubbed, Diversified Cropping Systems for Inclusive and Resilient Agri-food System, farmers have been able to increase their farm produce especially maize and beans which are the leading food crops in the county.
The organizations have been working with farmers’ groups in demonstration farms on how they can improve their yields through the adoption of new techniques including proper soil and water management, crop rotation, diversification, and use of improved crop varieties.
CIAT Soil Researcher Boaz Waswa said through the use of the demonstration farms model, there has been an acceleration of adoption of the game-changing techniques and innovations as they replicate the acquired skills on their individual farms.
“The technologies that we are urging our farmers to adopt are those that will help them to adapt and build resilience to the challenges posed by climate change,” he said.
Speaking during a farmer’s field day at Kirangano Village in Runyenjes Constituency, Waswa also appealed to farmers to also diversify to other food crops to reduce the risk of food deficiency and increase household incomes.
KALRO Embu Center Researcher Murimi Kagete said through diversification, farmers have a fallback option should the primary crop fail.
“Due to unreliability of the rainfall and reduced soil fertility, we are urging farmers to cultivate more than one variety of crops including those that are drought resistant such as cassava, yams, millet, and sorghum,” Kagete said.
KALRO Extension Officer Catherine Muriithi said they have thoroughly trained various groups that are expected to disseminate the information to other farmers.
She said through the adoption of the new farming techniques farmers have been able to almost attain optimal yields and sell the surplus to get more income.
Farmers who have benefited from the training reported that they have been able to double their yields without having to use a lot of labor or inputs.
“We are able to harvest more from a small portion of land using the new techniques and planting the right crop varieties,” said Kirangano Women Group member Laurencia Ruguru.
Another farmer and member of the group Faith Mumbi said as women they have been the biggest beneficiaries of the project, given their role in shaping the wellbeing of their families.
By Samuel Waititu