Igembe residents in Meru County have been challenged to adjust to the upcoming farming trends in a move to enhance food and nutrition.
The Agriculture Chief Officer, Mrs. Dionisia M’Eruaki said it was regrettable that Igembe region leads in cases of malnutrition in the county calling on residents to diversify their agricultural activities.
Addressing farmers on Thursday during an Open Field Day at Murera area in Igembe Central Sub County, M’Eruaki noted that there was need for a paradigm shift in the way agriculture was being practiced.
She noted that most farmers had been attuned to growing maize and beans for subsistence purposes besides the Miraa crop.
She encouraged farmers in the area to try it out on horticulture that she stated fetches more cash and cautioned them against politicising agriculture.
“We need to embrace mixed farming and cropping for maximum outputs. The county government is keen on supporting growing of Hass avocado and macadamia to supplement other cash crops in the region,” said the Chief Officer.
She also rallied farmers to form groups so that they can benefit more from education programmes meant to uplift the standards of agriculture in the region.
“So far 10 agricultural groups have been sensitised on matters of modern farming and agribusiness. We should yearn to grow to sell rather than just doing farming for subsistence purposes,” she noted.
M’Eruaki directed all agricultural extension officers in the county to conduct massive education drives for the benefit of the local farmers.
The event organised by the county government in partnership with State Department of Agriculture and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aimed at promoting horticulture through Small Holder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Project for Locals and Up-scaling (SHEP-PLUS).
The JICA Chief Advisor, Nobuhide Hayashi advised farmers to engage in growing of crops whose market they have assessed instead of just growing for the sake of it.
“Just do not grow for the sake of it. Look at the market to dictate what to plant,” advised Hayashi.
The event brought together various small holder farmers’ groups across the County and extension officers from Kilifi, Makueni, Kitui, Kiambu and Meru Counties.
By Richard Muhambe/Raphael Obando