Maize farmers urged to diversify
As fortunes from maize farming dwindle with the fall of prices, farmers from the Rift Valley are now being challenged to diversify into silage-making and dairy farming.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai urged farmers from Uasin Gishu to rethink their involvement in maize production by venturing into silage production which they can sell to their counterparts with limited farming land elsewhere in the country.
“In the wake of poor maize prices, farmers ought to diversify into other value-added options like making maize silage where the returns are not dependent on the prices dictated by the cereals board but on demand from dairy farmers across the country,” he said.
Mr Kimtai said farmers, especially from Uasin Gishu, have large tracts of land in which they can maximise production of maize for silage.
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The PS spoke during a forum to sensitise farmers on ways to improve their output during field day at Nundoroto Farm in Eldoret.
Over 350 farmers and other stakeholders from Uasin Gishu, Kitale, Nandi, Mau, Narok and Meru attended the event organised by Nundoroto Agricultural Contractors, AG Harvesting, Feed and Fodder Team and Dutch organisation SNV Kenya, through its Kenya Market-led Development Programme.
Kimtai further acknowledged private partnership between Kenya and the Netherlands in several agricultural value chains, saying the dairy sector can leverage on them improve efficiency and productivity. Kenya Dairy Board Managing Director Margaret Kibogy said maize farmers need to diversify to dairy, even as the country works on increasing production of milk from an estimated five billion litres per year.
She said continuous training of farmers will be paramount towards better milk production.
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“Dairy is a vital sector for Kenya’s big four agenda in addressing poverty alleviation, increased household incomes for the farmers and food and nutrition security,” she said.