Migori farmers are set to benefit from sorghum farming through a project dubbed, Global Labour Inclusive Futures funded by USAID.
A leading Agronomist from Syngenta foundation Antony Mugendi said that they have partnered with the USAID and East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) to fund and buy sorghum from farmers.
Mugendi who conducted a farmer’s training on sorghum farming at Kehancha said that the aim of the project was to help sorghum farmers in Kuria East, Kuria West and Nyatike Sub Counties join the Syngenta foundation hub model to improve their sorghum production.
The project is targeting 9,000 farmers from 45 hub centers across the three sub counties that will be managed by the hub manager.
Mugendi said that People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) will also be given special priority to help them improve their sorghum agricultural activities.
The official noted that the center hubs will be used to recruit farmers as well as assisted them form farmers’ groups.
He said that forming groups will enable sorghum farmers to have higher barging powers in terms of marketing and agronomic extension services.
The agronomist added that the hub will help the targeted farmers acquire farm inputs and financial assistance through Filed Saving and Loan Association (FSLA).
The hub will also help to train farmers on good agricultural practices and new modern sorghum technologies across the three sub counties.
He however acknowledged that the biggest challenge for sorghum farmers is Quelea birds that feast on the crop reducing drastically the yield for farmers.
Mugendi said that they will provide farmers with improved sorghum seed varieties that are less likely to be eaten by birds to replace the Indigenous sorghum variety.
Sorghum farmers were also advised to synchronise planting to curb bird destruction.
“Planting sorghum and other crops in the same season will help to confuse birds because more food crops exist at the same time. We will supply certified sorghum seeds like Serena and Seredo varieties that mature faster, have less resistant to diseases and produces high yield”, said Mugendi.
Edward Mwita, a farmer from Masaba ward in Kuria West said that he has been planting the ingenious sorghum that is much liked by birds.
He said that the newly improved sorghum will boost his two acres’ production due to an already established EABL market.
According to Mwita, the guaranteed farm inputs, seeds, and financial assistance to sorghum farmers will enable the majority of maize farmers to embrace the venture to reap its benefits.
The Global Labour Inclusive futures has also been implemented sorghum growing in Meru, Nyandarua and Homa bay Counties.
Mugendi noted that they will continue expanding the project to other Nyanza counties to help farmers diversify their crop production.
By Geoffrey Makokha