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Saturday, 5 July 2014

Farmers benefit from fruit seedlings given by the county government

By Bob Aston
More than twenty (20) farmers from Sipili Division, Laikipia West on July 3, 2014 benefited from orange and pawpaw fruit seedlings that had been given out by Laikipia County government. The county government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries distributed 200 orange seedlings and 200 pawpaw seedlings.
Mr.Kamau addressing some of the farmers who came for the seedlings
Mr. James Kamau, the Divisional Agriculture Officer, Sipili division informed the farmers that they are receiving the fruit seedlings at no cost courtesy of the county government. He noted that fruit production has been on the increase in Sipili and its environs and they are now looking at ways of ensuring that farmers enjoy maximum return.
He said that the county government decided on Washington navel variety of orange as it is the most ideal type in the region. He added that the county government is interested in ensuring that the livelihood of farmers is improved through fruit farming.
“Fruit farming is a long term investment but it is important to know that once you start harvesting it will be worth the effort. Fruit farming can also withstand the dry weather condition which is currently being experienced in Sipili,” said Mr. Kamau.
While demonstrating to the farmers how to space the fruits while planting, he urged them to follow proper spacing using Negarim microcatchments as it would be the most ideal way to space the fruits. He said oranges require a spacing of six (6) by 6 metres.
Mr. Kamau demonstrating how to space the seedlings
Negarim microcatchments are diamond-shaped basins surrounded by small earth bunds with an infiltration pit in the lowest corner of each. Runoff is collected from within the basin and stored in the infiltration pit.
Ol-Moran/Sipili Ward administrator Mr. Peter Keru urged the farmers to practice what they are taught by agricultural officers. He informed them that the county government will be doing a follow up to see how the fruits are growing thus they need to take care of them to ensure their survival chance is 100%.
“This is just a catalyst to encourage you to plant more fruits. The initiative will still continue to ensure more farmers also benefit,” said Mr. Keru.
Farmers who had registered to receive fruit seedlings were each given fifteen (15) seedlings while others were given nine (9). The orange seedlings are expected to mature after three (3) years. The initiative follows an earlier one by the county government when it gave out 800 mango seedlings.
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