Over 13, 400 farmers in Embu have benefited from certified seeds from Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research
Organisation (KALRO) seed unit.
The Sh.12.9 Million seed unit supplies included certified legume seeds, sweet potatoes vines, cassava cuttings and
bracharia splits which are hard to get locally from agro vets shops.
Through KALRO farmers are now accessing quality seeds that they were not able to get from the existing seed companies.
While speaking during a field visit by Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC), KALRO seed specialist, Susan Wanderi, said her organisation is also engaging contracted farmers where they are supplied with certified seeds and later the organization buys the produce from the farmers as per an existing contractual agreements with individual farmers.
“This initiative has enhanced improved varieties hence increasing yields and income ensuring food security for the
farmers,” Ms. Wanderi said.
She further observed that KALRO is involved in a Community Seed Based Production Initiative, where farmers produce quality declared seeds which they sell to their fellow farmers.
On the importance of using quality seeds, Ms. Wanderi said quality seeds are a prerequisite for achieving higher yields and subsequently food and nutrition security.
“Certified seeds prevent the spread of pests, diseases and weeds thereby reducing the costs of production for purchase of pesticide, fungicides and herbicides,” she observed.
The seed unit built by Upper Tana Resources Management Project (UNaNRMP) has a capacity of storing over 200 tonnes of seeds, hence serving as a source of quality seeds to farmers.
The seed unit also has a cold room where sampled seeds are stored and secured against catastrophic events like extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and outbreak of diseases.
The committee led by Eastern Regional Commissioner, Isaiah Nakoru which was inspecting UNaNRMP funded projects also inspected a Sh.14 Million laboratory at Water Resources Authority.
According to Benard Omuya, WRA Regional Manager, the laboratory will serve 10 counties with laboratory services.
The team also toured a Sh.7.2 Million UNaNRMP funded Kiambindu irrigation scheme benefiting over 280 farmers which is at 70 percent completion.
By Kimani Tirus