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Take Advantage of Short Rains, Farmers advised

Farmers  in Juja Sub-county of Kiambu County have been advised to plant more vegetables and wind break plants as they are more resistant to rains and strong winds during this short rainy season.

Speaking  to Kenya News Agency (KNA) on Tuesday from his office, John Njoroge, the Director of Kenya Institute of Organic Farming (KIOF), an NGO working with community in Juja, who is also former Agriculture lecturer said that the best activity that farmers in the county can get themselves engaged in was planting new crops such as vegetables, maize and pumpkins as they are more adaptable to short rains as well as heavy rains as their roots have a firm soil holding capacity and therefore cannot be swept away easily.

The  Director advised that Sorghum was also drought resistant and adaptable to most climatic zones and soils across the country and was therefore conducive.

He  explained that Sorghum can grow well with as little as 25 mm of rainfall which was achievable to most areas in Juja.

Njoroge noted  that local indigenous varieties were less prone to bird damage therefore making it friendly for farmers whom he advised to buy seed varieties suitable for their regions but warned that they should seek advice from Agricultural Research Stations or extension workers from the county Government of Kiambu.

He said Cassava can also withstand drought and often grows well even in areas with poor soils. It can provide food to families when all other crops fail so it was another alternative that farmers could go for during the current period when rains were unpredictable. However, cassava production has been affected by the outbreak of Cassava Mosaic Disease (CMD).

Njoroge said farmers can buy Migyera variety, which is CMD resistant from KALRO research stations near them.

Pigeon peas, he noted, was drought resistant and grows well in dry areas with as little as 650 mm of rainfall. New varieties which mature in four months have been developed and farmers should access them for fast growing crops that can go a long way to boost food security which is one of the Big 4 Agenda of the government.

Njoroge further added that farmers should avoid growing crops such as tomatoes as they can be destroyed easily by the rains and therefore would be a waste of their efforts.

The  farmers have also been encouraged to plant wind breaking trees as the rains continue to pound down most areas countrywide. Field wind breaks are said to protect a variety of wind sensitive crops, control soil wind erosion and increase the effectiveness of pesticides used while attempting to maximize crop yields.

By  Alba Nakuwa

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