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Farmers urged to embrace technology for better yield

Farmers in Western Region have been urged to put into practice available new technology for higher yields and quality farm produce.

Speaking during an Agriculture workshop at the Busia Agricultural Training Centre (ATC), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) officials, Linet Ongadi, stressed that seed selection was an important step in cultivation.

She pointed out that quality of seeds must always be of high standard so that a farmer may get better production from crops. “This being the case, selection of seed is one of the most effective ways to improve farmer’s yield,” he added.

Farmers across Busia County had the opportunity to engage with various companies that deal with sampling and testing soils, training of farmers, seeds production and fertilizers during a one-day agricultural show held at the ATC.

“If you long for good grain quality and strong stems, consider a seed that is resistant to common rust, stalk borer, glyphosate and head smut diseases,” said Mercy Nyongesa, Marketer at Pannar Seeds Company.

According to Ms. Nyongesa,  Pannar seeds are the best suitable for farmers within Busia, Bungoma and Siaya counties as they are  drought resistant as opposed to other varieties, adding that it is stable and adaptable over different seasons and production environments.

“It is very important that the seeds should be sown only after treatment. This can protect crops from diseases caused by seeds. Germination percentage should be checked before sowing the seed in the field,” she added.

She prescribed AmistarTop (L7897) at 500ml per acre, Abacus (L8048) at 1.6litres per acre, and Nativo (L8942) at 1 litre per acre. These fungicides are applicable in two slots during the first six weeks of the crop.

Nyongesa cited various uses of the seed variety, besides its predictability in assuring the farmer adequate profitability throughout planting seasons. Under ideal circumstances, the hybrid variety takes between 90-100 days to mature.

“Seed should be genetically pure, have optimum moisture, free from mixture of other seeds, healthy and free from infection or infestation, without any damage to any of its parts. Besides food, this hybrid variety is recommended for grain and silage production, as well as forage maize. Given the right environment and proper care by the farmer, you can reap a maximum yield of between 26-40 bags per acre,” she noted.

Ian Owuor, a farmer of PAN 3M-05 attributed his success to the seed variety, saying it has increased his profit exponentially. He indicated that the variety does not require double topdressing, a factor that enables him to reduce the cost of production.

“This seed variety requires minimum input as opposed to others, but it gives maximum return on investment,” said Owuor.

He added that the maize is sweet and is preferred by clients who do “mahindi choma business.” Owuor harvests 30 bags of maize every planting season.

Talking of challenges, Owuor referred to the high cost of fertilizer and pesticides, appealing to the government to subsidize the cost of farm inputs so as to ensure farmers flourish in the current tough economic times.

Pannar’s white maize package is stable and demonstrates strong seedling vigour and early plant establishment. These hybrids are widely adaptable, ergonomically strong, and renowned for grain and milling quality.

“The solid performance of our white hybrids will go a long way towards reducing variability in productivity and profitability, for effective risk management,” said Vickie Barasa, who is also a supplier of Pannar seeds.

By Absalom Namwalo and Joshua Opili

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