Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Food Security

The Director for Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) George Njoroge has said that potato and grain farmers prefer practical and observation methods of training, instead of the popular radio and television programs that tend to be elitist.

Speaking during a training of seed potato production to farmers at a Nakuru hotel on Thursday, he said for many years local farmers have been losing money during every planting season because they hadn’t appreciated the importance of proper land preparation.

He added that the culture of replanting harvested grains has also worked against the smallholder farmers since it reduces yields by over 70 per cent and increases pests that require purchasing of pesticides, and that eats into the profit of the farmer.

However, he noted with concern that the prevalent culture of short cuts has also infiltrated the farming community, where a number of them believe that following procedures was expensive, but it ends up eating all their profits.

 ‘’Farming unlike other professions requires precision and constant application of laid down procedures such as proper land preparation, timing of planting season and spraying at the right time,’’ says Njoroge.

But, instead of cultivating a smaller portion of land and following the procedures, the local farmers extended the size, with the erroneous belief that more was better, instead of doing a smaller portion to the ultimate best.

He noted with concern that some farmers were harvesting as little as ten bags of potatoes and maize per acre, while the few who follow the laid down procedures manage 30 to 40 bags on the same portion of land.

Salome Mwangi is one of the successful potato farmers who has been trained by FtMA
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