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