Narok farmers are optimistic that they will have a bumper harvest this year following the increased planting acreage and prolonged rainfall.
The farmers who spoke to KNA said unlike last year when many farmers had abandoned the practice because of bad weather and increased cost of farm inputs, more farmers have planted maize, beans and wheat this year.
Wilson Marima, a prominent farmer from Melili area in Narok Central Sub County said he has increased his acreage this year because of the affordable fertiliser prices that has decreased from Sh6, 500 last year to Sh3, 500 this year.
“I have 20 acres under maize, up from five acres last year. Though the cost of buying seeds is still high at Sh400 per two-kilogram hybrid seeds, many farmers have ventured into the practice,” he said.
He reiterated that the farmers in the upper Mau region are expected to harvest in September while those from the lower parts are expected to harvest from July as they planted their farms earlier.
“Though we had delayed rainfall, the crops are doing well and we expect a bumper harvest later this year,” he said.
Milton Ole Salaon a farmer from Olorropil area hoped that the farmers will harvest more produce this year compared to previous years.
“Maybe the cost of maize flour ‘unga’ will go down as from August when most regions will be harvesting maize. I thank the government for subsidizing the prices of fertilizer,” he said.
He called on the government to maintain the current price of maize so that the farmers will not incur losses when selling their produce.
The Narok County commissioner Isaac Masinde confirmed that 98, 000 farmers had registered on the digital farmers’ registration platform so as to benefit from government subsidies.
Masinde said about 107, 700 bags of NPK and top dressing fertilizer had been purchased from the local National Cereal and Produce Board (NCPB) this year.
In addition, he said, over 20, 900 bags of fertilizer, which is mostly top dressing fertiliser, is yet to be purchased from the NCPB.
“The county has four NCPB facilities located in Narok town, Mulot trading centre, Kilgoris town and Enoosaen area in Trans Mara. Farmers have been purchasing the fertilizer from their nearest depots,” he said.
Last year, poor rainfall distribution and high fertiliser prices made many farmers shy off from farming and opted for other businesses that could bring more money into their pockets.
By Ann Salaton