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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Sipili stakeholders forum hold farmers field day at Makutano B

By Bob Aston
Residents of Makutano B village in Laikipia County were treated to an agricultural field day on March 27, 2014. The field day was held at Elijah Mathenge’s farm. This is part of agricultural activities in Sipili Division organized by agricultural stakeholders forum.  The theme of the day was “Good seed for better yield.”
Sam from Ng'arua Maarifa Centre training some farmers about Sokopepe
Representatives from various organizations erected their stands and gave an insight of the products they have to the attendants. Among those present included: Syngenta, Kenya Seed Company Ltd, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Agro Solutions Ltd, Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Pioneer Kenya Ltd, Osho Chemicals, Monsanto (Seminis) and several community based organizations.
Speaking during the event Samwel Kiige, Field Officer Ministry of Agriculture, Sipili division urged farmers to follow proper planting methods in order to enjoy maximum benefits from their farms. Kiige said that practicing good crop husbandry would ensure that farmers get good returns from their farming activities.
“It was a good day. Farmers have received a lot of training from crop production to weeding. I hope they will practice what they have learned during the training,” said Kiige.
Elcy Kigano, Divisional Crop Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Sipili division said that the field day was meant for farmers to interact with various stakeholders and learn from them. She said that the field day was also a day when farmers interact with their fellow farmers and share experiences and challenges that they encounter.
Livestock officer training some farmers about breeding
“Holding the field day at Mathenge’s farm has enabled other farmers to also learn from him about water harvesting. We have been encouraging farmers to harvest water instead of depending on rain fed agriculture,” said Elcy.
Members of the community were asked to embrace new technologies in farming. They were encouraged to use internet services to learn various methods of farming. Farmers were also encouraged to use Sokopepe- an online and SMS based platforms that provide market prices information to farmers and links farmers with buyers.
Farmers were informed that Sokopepe will help them to query prices in major towns in Kenya and make an informed decision on where to sell and at what price thus have a bargaining power.
Peter Mukono, a Livestock extension officer with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries said that he was happy as the field day was successful.
Mukono said that farmers were trained by government staff and private practitioners on most of the enterprises pertaining livestock.
“Enterprises covered were bee keeping, rabbit production, breeding and dairy goat. Most of the emphasis was on fodder establishment since this is the right season for establishing fodder,” said Mukono.
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