More than 1,000 farmers from parts of lower Murang’a will be engaged in growing sorghum for commercial purposes.
This comes after the county government linked a deal with East Africa Breweries Ltd (EABL) to promote the growing of the crop in areas of the county that receive minimal rains.
On Sunday, Governor Irungu Kang’ata and representatives from EABL launched the programme, where hundreds of farmers drawn from Maragua, Kambiti, Kakuzi, and the lower parts of Gatanga were issued with certified sorghum seeds as they prepared to plant in the next expected rain season.
In the agreement, the Murang’a government will embark on the provision of certified seeds of sorghum, while EABL will offer a ready market for the produce.
Kang’ata noted that the lower parts of the county have been left behind since the area receives minimal rain, saying the growing of sorghum will enable farmers to earn a living.
He noted that EABL has agreed to offer a farm gate price for a kilo of sorghum at Sh48 and called upon the farmers from the selected area to take advantage of the programme.
Farmers in the lower parts of Murang’a for many years have relied on growing maize and beans, with production greatly affected by poor rains.
“Sorghum will ensure people from the areas which receive minimal rain have a source of income. The crop does well with less rain, and from the survey, it will do well in the specified areas,” added Kang’ata.
On behalf of EABL, Group Corporate Relations Director Mr. Eric Kiniti observed that they will work hand in hand with the engaged farmers to ensure they produce quality sorghum.
“We have field officers who will assist farmers in producing the quality of sorghum we need for manufacturing purposes. EABL has been promoting the growing of sorghum in various counties under a programmeme we call Mutama ni Mali, and we look forward to having more farmers join the programmeme in the near future,” stated Kiniti.
At the same time, Kang’ata remarked that apart from farming sorghum, his administration has also partnered with AMICA Sacco to support farmers from the same areas to grow Rhodes grass for hay.
Murang’a county, he noted, for many years has relied on hay from other counties like Laikipia, saying parts of lower Murang’a can do well in growing hay.
“Boma Rhodes Grass farmers will use this grass to make hay or fodder and sell it to dairy farmers in order to increase their milk production. Demand for hay by Murang’a dairy farmers is increasing, and most of it comes from other counties. We want farmers in the highlands to buy Rhodes grass from Lower Murang’a, and this programme will accelerate that,” noted the governor.
The new agriculture value chain comes amid the successful implementation of an ongoing milk and mangoes guaranteed minimum returns’ programme established in April this year.
Over 20,000 dairy farmers are benefiting from Sh3.50 for every litre of milk supplied to any of the registered dairy farmers’ cooperative societies to assist the farmers in buying cow feeds and other supplements.
On the other hand, over 1,000 mango farmers are benefiting from a Sh7 subsidy for every kilo of mangoes sold via Lower Murang’a Cooperative Society, which aggregates the total produce to assist them in buying farm inputs and settling other production costs.
By Bernard Munyao