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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bumper bean harvest in Laikipia


By Patrick Wachiuri

Farmers in Laikipia are having a bumper bean harvest after waiting tirelessly for the last three months. Many families are busy harvesting, threshing and drying the legumes since the heavy rains subsided. However, the tragic part is the intervention of the brokers who are ready to milk farmers of their hard labour. Many are going all the way to the farms to buy produce from them at a relatively low price.

Currently, a kilogram of beans is retailing at Ksh.30 down from Ksh.70 three months ago. In spite of a good harvest this season, many farmers are pessimistic because of the prevailing market prices. Some have expressed their reservations and are contemplating storing them until prices stabilize. 

Most farmers had a good harvest this season compared to the last season. Peter Kimani 26 is a farmer who hails from Muhotetu Division. He had intercropped his 1acre maize farm with beans and realized 450kg of beans. Apparently he does not have immediate plans to dispose them but prefers to store until the next planting season when he will replant them to multiply his harvest. “It will be prudent for me to store my beans rather than sell them at throw away price to brokers. In any case I will need them in the next planting season and therefore do not see any need to sell them cheaply and buy them later expensively,” quipped Peter.
Noah Tarayia an Agro-economist Officer in Sipili Division is leading from the front. Having been posted to the area two years ago, he realized the need to establish farming as a business in the area to match his skills and be a good example to his subjects. He is among the proud farmers who are reaping the fruits of their labour this season. 

He leased a 2are farm and inter-cropped maize and beans and has managed to reap 8 bags of beans. According to him the favourable climatic conditions coupled with good farming practices has earned him the benefits. “I’m very happy with what I have harvested. This being the first time for me to cultivate in this place, I have indeed had a morale booster. I’m encouraged to continue with the activity and looking forward profoundly for bumper maize harvest. I will always farm as long as I work in this place,” said Taraiya. 

He encourages farmers to use modern farming methods to enable them get value for their money. He also notes that farmers need to understand the soil PH of their farms because the soil in the area has turned acidic and they still insist on using DAP fertilizers. There is need therefore to sensitise farmers on the importance of getting knowledge of the minerals present or lacking in their soil. Tarayia has been working closely with Ng’arua Maarifa Centre and urges farmers to visit the centre regularly to get the necessary information needed to improve their skills in farming.




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