A local company Yara Mila East Africa has taken to training of farmers on the right use of fertilisers with an aim of boosting the productivity of rice in Mwea.
Country Manager for the company William Ng’eno said they took the initiative to educate the farmers after realizing there was widespread use of the wrong fertiliser which affect their productivity.
The training held at a demonstration farm in Mwea also attracted distributors and suppliers who are the first contact with the farmers during the procuring of the commodity.
“The focus is to produce better yields through enhanced knowledge to provide crop nutrition solutions for millions of farmers across the country,” he said.
Ngeno while addressing the farmers said in the long run, rice farmers will be able to increase their yield and quality of the grain and their earnings in the process.
He said apart from the increased earnings, the training has also equipped the farmers with the knowhow of maintaining soil quality and environmental values hence farmer’s sustainability and food security in the country.
“For us to ensure there is food security in Kenya, we need to empower the farmers to produce almost double the current rice output, including maize which stands at 34 million bags against an annual demand in excess of 50 million bags,” he said.
“This therefore means that we need to ensure proper nutrients are given to the crops which constitute a balanced dietthat human beings require.
He said unlike in the past, fertilizer is now made for specific crops like the rice, specific application and therefore would be wrong and loss for the farmers if they fail to follow the prescribed instructions.
Ngeno said the fertilizer is made specifically to ensure that crops receive the essential nutrients, including Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and secondary and micro-nutrients.
“This balanced nutrient composition in the right forms, ensure better farmer productivity without having adverse effects on the soil,”he said.
“Farmers under the programme have also been inducted on how to make sure the soils are not largely affected by the high acidity content thus lowering the annual yield.
He said the company will be partnering with the county governments as well as various stakeholders to ensure that farmers are properly trained on how to maintain the optimum soil PH while producing more.
Muthoni Kamau a farmer under the programme said the rice under the demonstration farm appears better and healthy while compared to the rice grown under the normal practice.
“We are told applying the right husbandry of the fertilizer and other inputs will lead to an acre giving a farmer of between 40 to 42 bags of rice as compared to the normal practice where a farmerharvests 24 bags,” Muthoni said.
To ensure that there will not be any counterfeits, the company has also partnered with key accredited distributors in various regions who sell only genuine products, and works with the Anti-Counterfeit Agency to educate farmers and distributors on how to avoid counterfeit products.
YaraMila East Africa (Kenya chapter) has been in operation for the past 20 years; importing and distributing fertilizer to Kenyan farmers.
By Irungu Mwangi