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Maize farmers in Murang’a benefit from free fertilizer

Thousands  of Murang’a farmers have benefited from subsidized fertilizer by the government in efforts to boost maize  production.

On  Wednesday, the county government commenced distribution of top-dressing fertilizer to more than 250, 000 farmers who had registered.

The farmers  are expected to use the fertilizer on maize crops in an effort to boost production of grains and thus improve  food security in the county.

The  County Executive Member for Agriculture, Albert  Mwaniki said more than 2.5 million kilogrammes of fertilizer will be given out in this season.

The  programme, he added, is aimed at supporting farmers who were initially supplied with maize seeds at the beginning of the rainy season.

“Murang’a County government is committed to support farmers to attain food security. In the past three years, the county has not experienced any hunger after various initiatives were employed to support food production,” said Mwaniki  when he led the exercise of distributing fertilizer at Kenol market.

Maize, the  CEC noted is the main food crop in the county hence the more resources committed to boost its production.

“Our  target is to see maize production go up to more than a million bags from last season’s production which was about  500, 000 bags.

The  programme of supporting farmers started in 2015 and will continue engaging and supporting farmers to ensure they produce enough and quality food,” he added.

He  revealed that most of the produce gets destroyed due to poor post harvest food handling techniques.

Mwaniki  observed  that  the  county  department of agriculture will deploy officers at the grassroots to train farmers on  better ways of handling harvested produce.

“It’s  unfortunate that we still incur losses due to poor handling of harvested food produce. My department will ensure the  losses are minimized,” he added.

He however, cautioned farmers against selling all their produce saying due to unpredictable weather patterns, some rainy  seasons are bound to have crop failure.

Meanwhile, the  CEC lauded  strategies the county government has used to revive the coffee sector, saying in recent past   production  of coffee has gone up.

Some  of  the  initiatives  employed by the county administration to boost coffee production included supply of manure, chemicals  and  replacing old with high yielding coffee variety, has seen more production of the cash crop.

Mwaniki  said  production of coffee shot from 24 million kilos in 2013 to 34 million kilos in 2016.

The  county  government, he  said  distributed eight million varieties of Batian and Ruiru 11 which are tolerant to diseases.

By  Bernard  Munyao

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