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Farmers urged to adopt climate-smart food production strategies

Farmers in Laikipia have been urged to adopt Climate Smart Agriculture technologies to avert famine due to perennial drought.

UN Women Laikipia County Coordinator Moses Muriithi who works with about 41 rural women’s self-help groups in Mukogodo East, Tigithi and Umande wards said their aim was to train them to improve their economic livelihoods and at the same time get food for their families.

“We have introduced climate-smart agriculture technologies that farmers can adopt, even in this time of drought, we are showing them how they can do their farming and have a higher chance of getting some production at the end,” Muriithi told KNA.

He was speaking at a function held to sensitize rural women on Climate Smart Agriculture technologies in Umande ward on Wednesday.

One of the Climate Smart Agriculture technologies that the women groups were urged to adopt was the planting of certified seeds that are drought resistant.

The women groups also practice chicken rearing, daily goat keeping, and dorper sheep among other activities.

The food value chains value addition projects are supported by UN Women, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Korean International and Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

“UN Women’s target is to ensure that as women try to cope with the climate change situation, they have the skills to enable them to be more resilient by impacting them with skills we believe they will be able to improve their financial status through table banking and uplift each other,” said the UN Women county coordinator.

FAO officer, Agneta Makutwa said they trained rural women on how to breed chicken by using traditional methods like improved jiko dubbed Chebkube.

In May this year, KOICA Kenya Director Janghee Im told KNA that, apart from Laikipia, the Korean government had invested about $4.4 million to address to rights of women in the counties of West Pokot and Kitui by promoting climate-smart agriculture technologies.

Cereals Growers Association (CGA) Agribusiness Coordinator Daniel Njung’e said with three failed consecutive rainy seasons in Laikipia, they were working with farmers to promote a new variety of crops that are drought tolerant like beans, sorghum, and millet.

“This area is experiencing huge challenges, for three consecutive seasons we haven’t had any harvest due to climate change and so we are working with farmers to promote new varieties of seeds that are drought tolerant,” said Njung’e.

He further pointed out that farmers should diversify to other crops instead of relying on maize farming alone.

“Our main message to farmers is that they don’t have to dwell on maize that is not doing well in the area but they can at least plant other crops like beans and millet which have good market and high nutrition value. We are promoting conservation agriculture by conserving little moisture so that they can harvest at the end,” said Njung’e.

Ogilgel women’s group chairlady Agnes Cherotich, one of the Climate Smart Agriculture technology beneficiaries said they make chicken feeds, a challenge they noticed among the members when they started poultry farming this year.

“Chicken feed was a key challenge to members. We decided to make our own, we use soya, maize, sunflower and cotton,” she said, adding that in two weeks’ time, they are expecting to receive a feed mixing machine from UN Women.

Cherotich urged other women in Laikipia to embrace chicken farming since it’s easy and cheap to manage. The group which has a membership of 20 women owns at least 500 chickens. The group sells extra poultry feeds to other farmers in the area.

By Muturi Mwangi

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