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Kilifi maize farmers expecting bumper harvest with improved rainfall

Most Kilifi County farmers are set for a bumper harvest during the April- July long rain season following proper distribution of rainfall throughout the months.
The farmers have had fears that the rains could stop mid-way as had been experienced in past years, but the rains have continued throughout the months of April, May and June giving them high hopes of a good harvest.
Only some farmers in lowlands semi-arid region in parts of Ganze Sub County said the distribution of the rains has been sparsely spread as some areas have not been receiving the needed rains for crops.
Some maize farmers interviewed by KNA in Kilifi south, north, Chonyi, Kaloleni and Rabai Sub Counties said the continued rains in June has given them great hopes for a good harvest which is due in August and September.
“We do not have as many diseases and pests attacking our crops this season as in the past years and we hope to chase away famine this time. My four-acre farm full of maize crop is doing well and the only fear is for the crow birds which are reported to have been destroying maize in other areas,” said Mr. Salimu Kaonge who is a farmer in Rabai Sub County.
He said most farmers in his neighborhood are happy with the performances of the rains since March 2020 revealing that apart from proper distribution, it has also not been excessive to destroy crops as experienced in past years.
Another maize farmer in Chonyi Sub County who is also a county worker Mr. Robert Mwamuye said his 7-acre maize farm will definitely perform well with or without rains during the month of June since most of them have started maturing.
“I doubled my effort this year after we were advised to work from home following the outbreak of coronavirus. I was able to supervise workers in the farm on my own and managed to cultivate all my farm towards the end of March, 2020,” he said.
Kahindi Kalume who has a 10-acre maize farm at Mwabayanyundo in Kaloleni Sub County said he will have adequate food throughout the year after harvesting in the coming month, adding that he will sell the surplus to his neighbors.
“The only challenge we have been having as farmers in the County has been the lack of proper storage facilities. Our system of storage in granaries has been causing heavy losses caused by rats and other pests,” he said.
Kahindi appealed to the County to come out and train farmers on modern maize storage facilities that will save their produce and make it last longer.
“Our stored produce in granaries hardly last for one year as the farmers share what they have harvested with the pests. This primitive way of storage should be discarded,” he said.
Farmers in semi-arid region of Vitengeni and Muryachakwe in Ganze Sub County however claimed that there has been no proper distribution of rainfall in their area and that there has been no rainfall since the month of June causing maize to dry up pre-maturely.
Kenga Charo who is a prominent farmer in Vitengeni said he was privileged to have County tractor which tilted his 12-acre farm at a subsidized price of sh.1500 per acre, he has nothing to be proud of as some of his maize require rains.
“Farmers in our area rely on the short rains of September and November which perform well for our crops. Long rains have not been reliable to our farmers”, he said.
Kilifi County director of agriculture Margaret Mukare lauded the farmers for putting up more effort in their farms despite the pandemic.
She said a programme to train farmers on proper food storage was initiated a year ago, but due to financial constraints not all farmers have been reached.
Mukare said there is an organization that has also been supporting farmers with maize storage bags but not many farmers have benefited.

By Harrison Yeri

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