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State urged to allocate more funding to boost wheat production

A section of farmers who have hugely invested in wheat farming want the government to channel more resources to support an increase of the crop production.

Mr. James Muhuhu, a manager with a farmers’ investment group which specializes in wheat farming, has blamed poor production of wheat in the country to inadequate certified seeds.

He said lack of adequate funding is to blame for limited research and production of enough certified seeds which can boost wheat production.

On Friday, Muhuhu speaking during Wangu Investment Company annual general meeting said Kenya can reduce the rate on importation of wheat by ensuring farmers get enough certified seeds to boost productivity.

“Wheat is not given the much needed attention. In the country, we don’t have enough certified seeds of the crop. The challenge with wheat is that the seeds which can do well in areas like Timau, cannot do well elsewhere.

“Research on wheat is not like other crops. It needs more funding and that’s why we call upon the government to allocate more money to promote wheat farming in the country,” said Muhuhu.

Planting of certified seeds and provision of subsidies like fertilizer, the manager said, will result in increased wheat production leading to exportation of the produce.

“Government agencies like KALRO among others should be empowered to do research on wheat and ensure farmers get enough certified seeds. Our company mainly majors in wheat and barley farming and we struggle to get the best seeds,” Muhuhu further said.

He further called the government to consider giving subsidized fertilizer to farmers with farms of more than 20 acres.

The subsidized fertilizer, Muhuhu observed, only benefits small scale farmers saying wheat farmers who usually have big chunks of farms are not considered for cheap fertilizer.

“If farmers and companies which majors on large scale farming can access cheap fertilizer, the production will go up. Sometimes we are forced to incur high costs of production since we are not considered when it comes to subsidies,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Muhuhu said as a company, they did not meet growth targets citing the war between Ukraine and Russia as one of the factors that affected their income.

“The year also experienced prolonged drought which affected our production. But the low produce led to sharp increase of wheat price thus enabling Wangu Investment to increase turnover by 30  percent,” he noted.

Wangu Investment Company, which was established by former veteran politician, the late Kenneth Matiba, has been farming wheat, barley and canola in parts of Timau. The company currently has more than 13, 000 shareholders.

By Bernard Munyao

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