Bungoma South farmers advised to be cautious with their crops.
Written by Valerie Bunyasi
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Farmers in Bungoma South District have been cautioned by the Bungoma South District crops officer Ms Linda Kebaso to be careful following an outbreak of maize diseases in some parts of the country.
Speaking to the press Kebaso confirmed that there hasn’t been any reported outbreak of diseases affecting the crops in the district but urged that farmers should not slack in their efforts to care for their crops so as to increase their harvest.
She advised the farmers to immediately report any suspicion of an outbreak of strange diseases in their farms to their nearest agricultural officers or to the agricultural district office so that the officers in-charge may take the required measures to prevent the spread of the disease or cure it.
“We have area and locational field officers who help farmers deal with issues affecting their crops at the grass root level, therefore incase farmers find any suspicious disease in their crops they should report to them or come t the agricultural offices,” she said.
In case of a strange outbreak a sample of the infected crops is taken to the research institutions such as the Kenya Agricultural Research Institution (KARI) or to KEPHIS for further analysis to find out what kind of a disease it is and how to cure it or advise the farmers accordingly.
Ms Kebaso also noted that as a country we are still behind in food production as compared to countries like Malawi. She argued that these delays are as a result of the ministry not being allocated enough funds to help in improving food production in the country.
She argued that in Malawi the ministry of Agriculture is allocated 10% of the total budget a situation that has increased food production in the country to the extent of over producing as the country is able to bring in new methods of farming and also help in irrigating the dry areas.
“Food security in the country will only be guaranteed, if the government is willing to spend more on agriculture, as a ministry we proposed to be given 10% of the budget to help in irrigation of the arid areas to make them productive and also sensitize and encourage local farmers to engage in farming using new methods and technologies,’’ she said
She urged the local farmers to invest more in agriculture adding that the fertility of the soil and enough rains in the region if favorable for farming.
“Many locals only practice subsidiary farming and most of them are engaging in bodaboda business which they find easier yet the region has enough rains and fertile soils good for farming,” said the crop officer.
She said that farmers have a hard time getting credit from banks because they lack adequate collateral. Therefore other stakeholder should come in and aid these farmers to help increase food security in the country.