Farmers across Embu County have benefitted from an agricultural exhibition organized by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to equip them with knowledge to increase productivity.
Coming at the onset of the long rains, the organizers said the agricultural fair was informed by the need to train farmers on how best to make good use of the rains that have been forecasted to be depressed to increase yields.
KALRO Embu Center Director, Dr. Alfred Micheni, said most of the message revolved around urging farmers to plant early maturing crop varieties and use certified seeds that have improved traits including drought and disease resistance as well as better yields.
“Climate change is here with us and famers ought to adapt accordingly by using farming practices that will maximize yields,” the Director said.
Dr. Micheni who spoke at the close of the two-day exhibition Thursday at KALRO offices in Embu Town, said with proper practices including agroforestry, soil testing, proper water management and crop rotation, farmers were assured of good yields and incomes.
“This knowledge is readily available at our research centers across the country and we urge our famers to make use of them to acquire information that will enable them to be food secure,” he said.
Researcher Extension Linking Officer, Catherine Muriithi, called on farmers to stop recycling seeds from past harvests as it affects production.
She said there were dangers associated with recycled seeds including lowered production and transmission of diseases and urged farmers to always go for new and improved varieties.
Njoki Muraguri, a farmer, said the training was an eye opener for her as she gained knowledge that will help her increase yields in her farm.
She particularly said she was impressed to learn how to diversify by incorporating other ventures to crop farming such as dairy farming, bee keeping and chicken rearing as well as planting traditional food crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes that are drought resistant.
Lands CEC Raymond Kinyua hailed the initiative by the research institution and promised to work closely with it to continue giving extension support to farmers.
By Samuel Waititu