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Laikipia farmers urged to diversify to achieve food security

Farmers in Laikipia County have been encouraged to embrace diversification in crop production to boost their sources of livelihood and improve living standards.

Speaking during the distribution of subsidized fertilizer in Kinamba, Rumuruti, and Ol-Moran areas in Laikipia West, Governor Joshua Irungu said that enhancing the diversification of agricultural technologies would come in handy in addressing some of the challenges the region was facing, including drought, food shortage, and income.

“Let us not rely on maize farming only. Let us plant fruits because they will help us when there is drought. Also ensure you harvest water in any way. Soon we shall be giving water tanks to help our people to enable them harvest water.

“I urge all residents to harvest water using water pans because it can last you and your family for six months. Let us also diversify crop and livestock production,” said Irungu.

His sentiments were echoed by Laikipia West acting Deputy County Commissioner Githinji Wamahiu who appealed to farmers to exploit the region’s favorable weather patterns and arable soils and increase their sources of income through crop diversification.

They encouraged farmers to embrace water harvesting initiatives during the heavy rains and use the water to irrigate their crops during the dry season.

They observed that as the County government was promoting and supporting climate-smart agriculture, it would be prudent for farmers to practice planting of short maturing crops and water harvesting technologies.

Farming in most parts of Laikipia is mainly rain-fed which sometimes causes frustration mainly during the dry season when crops fail.

The government said if farmers take up high-value crops and those that can withstand drought, then they will be food secure and still have more to sell for their livelihood.

They said farmers would get the farm input at NCPB stores near them and at Ol-Moran Catholic Church.

This, they said, would help ease the agony most farmers were facing, having to travel long distances to Nyahururu town to collect the subsidies.

By Antony Mwangi

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