Farmers in Busia County have been urged to embrace the use of organic products to control Fall Armyworms which have invaded maize farms in Western, North and South Rift regions of Kenya.
Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zonal Coordinator for Western Zone, Sarah Marango said they are advocating for organic farming and other sustainable practices that are against the synthetic use of agri-pesticides on organic fertilizers on the farms.
“The yield of organic farming compared to other conventional methods of farming is not comparable because organic farming does not produce much though we look in terms of health and nutrients to the body. Looking at the current status in health and lifestyles, there has been an emergence of chronic diseases. I would encourage everybody to shift to organic and use fewer chemicals on their farms because it is about our health and not what we get from our farms,” she said.
Marango was speaking at Busia Agricultural Training Centre during a meeting of farmers and crop officers from Butula and Teso South Sub Counties to sensitize them on the effects of climate change and adaptation.
Deputy County Director Agriculture in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation Frank Moturi revealed that the County Government of Busia will recruit more extension officers in place to close the gap ratio of extension officers vis-a-vis the farmers.
“On soil testing, we have been testing our soils in Bungoma using the soil care kitty. At the moment KALRO Alupe has purchased Kshs 12million equipment for soil testing to be used to serve the people of this region. The prices for soil testing will drastically reduce. That will be a plus for the farmers.
The National Government has also allocated Kshs 340 million for research institutions so that they are able to come up with a good measure of controlling the Fall Armyworm menace. At the moment what we are doing is first aid. No known measure to control the vice but in future, the researchers might find the cure,” he said.
A farmer from Bulwani village in Butula Francis Were appealed to the County Government to increase budget allocation to Agriculture to 60 percent saying it is the mainstay of development at grassroots.
Caroline Anyona from Elugulu Ward regretted that small-scale farmers have abandoned the growth of traditional foodstuffs like cassava, sweet potatoes, millet and sorghum.
“Youths have also forgotten to eat traditional vegetables like saka, kunde and sucha,” she said, adding that such vegetables are medicinal.
Fredrick Echakara from Chakol Ward in Teso South called for quarterly meetings of such calibre and if possible to be decentralized to sub locations.