KEPHIS Urges Busia farmers to Adapt New Farming Technologies and Grow Newly Released Crop Varieties

Tabasamu Farm, Nambale - KEPHIS in collaboration with the County Government of Busia and seed stakeholders conducted a farmer’s field day at Tabasamu farm in Nambale, Busia County. The event that was attended by more than 500 farmers was aimed at educating farmers on new farming technologies and newly released (made available for multiplication) crop varieties suitable for Busia county. 

KEPHIS Board Chairman Mr. Robin Achoki (2nd left), Navakholo MP, Emmanuel Wangwe (3rd left), Busia County Women Representative, Florence Mutua (centre) and CEC Agriculture, Busia County, Mr. Moses Osia at the demonstration plots during a farmers field day at Tabasamu  farm in Nambale, Busia County

In attendance was Busia County Women Representative, Hon. Florence Mutua who asked researchers to collaborate with KEPHIS to come up with a better variety of cotton other than the hybrid. “We need a better variety of cotton other than the hybrid since the hybrid is not as high yielding compared to the traditional breed,” she said. She added that certified seed should be brought closer to the farmer as she urged them to the new farming technologies demonstrated to them at the field day to ensure Busia is food secure. 

Navakholo MP Hon. Emmanuel Wangwe urged farmers to adopt new technologies of farming and to plant crop varieties that are suitable for Busia County. He added that the fast maturing varieties are good as they ensure nutrition and food security. He urged farmers to plant certified seed and avoid getting seed across the porous border as it would pose a danger to Kenya’s agriculture. For the upland rice, he called for collaboration between the County Government, seed stakeholders and KEPHIS in creating awareness and educating farmers on the crop. 

KEPHIS MD Dr. Esther Kimani urged farmers to improve their standard of living through adoption of suitable and high yielding crop varieties. She took farmers through the KEPHIS mandate explaining that KEPHIS ensures all seeds are viable through its seed certification process. She further advised farmers to purchase seeds from registered seed sellers and ensure that the packaging material contains a sticker label. “When buying seeds, ensure the seed packets have a KEPHIS sticker label which allows you to scratch and send the code to 1393 via SMS. The feedback a farmer gets includes the lot number, type and variety of crop, packaging date and the producing company, which will help the farmer to tell whether the seed is genuine or fake,” she said. She reminded farmers to form groups to enable them access market and make enough profits through agribusiness. 

KEPHIS MD Dr. Esther Kimani educating farmers on the importance of planting using certified seed and the importance of a sticker label in eliminating fake seed in the market during a field day at Tabasamu  farm in Nambale, Busia County

KEPHIS Board Chair Mr. Robin Achoki advised farmers to plant the new crop varieties demonstrated to them to avoid lifestyle diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. He called upon farmers to plant certified seedlings of various crops such as avocado, which have nutritional value and help in achieving one of the Big 4 Agenda of Nutrition and Food Security. 

Left: KEPHIS Board Chair Mr. Robin Achoki addressing farmers on the importance of adapting new crop varieties and right: presenting certified grafted hass Avocado seedlings to farmers at Tabasamu farm in Nambale, Busia County

KEPHIS has released high yielding varieties of green grams (varieties: Biashara, Karembo and KS 20), Amaranthus (varieties: Amaranth Dubious and Terere Smart), Sweet Potato( varieties: Mugande, Kabode, Kenspot 1 and Haraka),vegetables such as murenda and spider plant (sagaa), cowpeas (varieties: Ken Kunde 1, KVU 27-1, Kunde Faulu and KS 80), upland rice (varieties: Nerica 1 and 10), beans(varieties: KAT X 56 and X69), soybeans (varieties: SB 19), groundnuts (varieties: ICGV 90704), finger millet (U15 Maridadi), pearl millet and pastures such as Napier (Ouma, South Africa, Guatemala, Giant Seteria, Brachiaria hybrid : Cayman and Cobra) which are suitable for semi- arid parts of the country such as Busia.

CEC Agriculture Busia County Mr. Moses Osia, called on farmers to diversify to horticulture and dairy farming since the climatic conditions of the area favor their productivity.

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