A new variety of arrowroots which does not require a lot of water but has high yield has transformed the lives of small-scale farmers in Nakuru county who can now earn up to Sh100,000 from a quarter an acre after every five months.
The County Crop Officer Fredrick Owino said they have trained farmers to plant the arrowroots on moisture beds lined with heavy gauge polythene papers. The polythene prevents seepage of water and after planting, the sucker is mulched to prevent moisture loss.
He said all that a farmer requires is a polythene paper, organic fertilizer, compost manure and suckers and just a little water to sprinkle on the arrowroots sucker once a week. He was speaking at Mbaruk during a field day for farmers.
Owino said farmers who follow the laid down procedures could harvest tubers weighing up to 2 kg per corn, which translates to an average of 400 kg per bed in five months.
However, before harvesting, the farmers are advised to stop sprinkling water for two weeks to allow the tuber to harden. That allows the tubers to remove much of the water for a better and crispy taste.
The farmers are also harvesting the leaves which they sell to a firm that dries and mills them into the powder that is mixed with wheat flour and in some cases used to flavour food.
Owino said the leaves were rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, phosphorous, potassium and zinc. He added that they started training farmers on the new techniques at the showground in the year 2010 and the farmers who adopted the new method have made good profits.
He urged farmers to take a keen interest in what is displayed by the agricultural officers at show grounds because the new technologies have a capacity of changing their lives for the better.
By Veronica Bosibori