The Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) has pledged to partner with local farmers to boost agricultural production in Meru County.
During their premier Farmers Field Day on Thursday, the university urged farmers within the region to be free to share their agricultural needs with the institution to help forge a collaboration that will see better agricultural standards.
Speaking to the hundreds of farmers drawn from Tigania West Sub County, MUST Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Charity Kariuki said the institution will be visiting farmers to learn and get solutions to the various issues affecting agriculture in the region.
“Don’t tire asking us questions about what is restraining your productivity. We promise to listen to you and transfer your questions and complaints to the relevant doors,” stated Prof. Kariuki.
The Farmers Field Day shall be an annual event to enable farmers get a chance to interact with agricultural experts on modern farming practices and trends.
“We are not here just to produce degrees but we are also here to train farmers,” she said.
Meanwhile, farmers in the region have been urged to diversify their farming practices to contribute towards the achievement of the Big Four Agenda.
The Director Agriculture Research and Innovation, Gioche Mwangi reiterated the need for farmers to intensify their farming activities since the 2010 constitution highlights that every Kenyan has the right to food and good health.
Mwangi underscored the value of agriculture in realising the big four agenda, saying farming contributes to food security and manufacturing.
He asked farmers to embrace growing of indigenous high value food crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes noting that the crops are disease and drought resistant.
“The ministry of agriculture is also committed to changing from over dependence on rain fed agriculture to irrigation agriculture to save farmers from crop losses associated with failed rains,” stated the Director.
He called on agricultural institutions to partner with various stakeholders to set up incubation centres for practical and field days.
Similarly farmers have been cautioned against buying planting materials from unknown sources.
The Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) Chief Liaison Officer, James Wahome asked farmers to ensure they consult experts before choosing the best seed variety for planting during the oncoming planting season.
“We have unscrupulous individuals who counterfeit seeds hence farmers should only buy certified seeds that have a certificate indicating this year,” he advised.
The hundreds of farmers from Tigania West Sub County appealed to the government to come up with modalities of saving them against disposing off their produce at very low prices.
They said maize prices usually drop below the farmers’ expectations during harvest time hence making them go at a loss.
By Richard Muhambe