Bungoma County government in collaboration with the ministry of agriculture has officially launched the Kenya cereals enhancement program funded by European Union and Equity Bank.
The program is targeting five hundred farmers in Tongaren Sub County in Milima and Soysambu wards where farmers will get planting seeds 10 kilos of maize and 16 kilos of beans together with fertilizer to improve on their yields.
The chief guest at the launch at Nabing’eng’e, Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka said the program is aimed at improving the yields of farmers in the region whose main crop grown is maize saying with the modern technology incorporated they will have to realize a bumper harvest.
He disclosed that the county government has also purchased soil testing machines for the county saying being mobile it will have to traverse the whole county to cater services for the farmers saying it is important to know the type of food crop that will do well and the type of fertilizer to be used.
“Some of us have been planting maize repeatedly hence causing the soil to exhaust all the necessary nutrients to help the maize germinate well hence a need to change the type of crop grown or the fertilizer used which the experts with the soil testing equipments will advice” he said
Governor Lusaka further said the county has also purchased three maize driers or the county saying it will help to dry the farmers maize during the harvest season as many of them do encounter loses after harvesting their maize by not drying them.
The Governor also assured farmers in the region that the maize milling plant being built at Brigadier is on course and the contractor will be speeding up the process of its construction to have it ready by the beginning of the harvesting season this year.
Also he called upon farmers to ensure they consult with the agricultural officers at the grass root level to be updated on the weather conditions saying they have so far set up weather stations in some sub counties which will act well to provide information on the right time to start planting.
Area Mp David Eseli Simiyu applauded the efforts of the ministry for such a noble program and called upon the ministry to distribute more alternative fertilizer in the region saying the one that had been always used by farmers was no longer effective.
He added that he is also holding talks with the National Cereals and Produce Board to have them stock seeds at the maize store being built at Tongaren to help farmers access the seeds and fertilizer at a shorter distance.
Bungoma county assembly agriculture committee chairman Andrew Lichuma said they have factored in enough in terms of allocation to the agriculture sector being the back bone of the economy of the county.
However he called for fair distribution of free and subsidized fertilizer to the residents of Bungoma County saying they have a right to access the fertilizer so as to realize a bumper harvest.
His sentiments were echoed by Bungoma north sub county agricultural officer Susan Ngera who called upon farmers who benefitted from the program to make good use of the seedlings saying with the program having been pioneered in the region they have to show good yields out of it.