It is all systems go for this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Mombasa international show that runs from September 4 to 8.
The fair has attracted more than 150 exhibitors, local and foreign, with the event set to boost tourism in the region.
Already, dozens of exhibitors have already set up their farms and stands ready for the event. At the National Irrigation Board farm, sunflower, tomatoes, maize, brinjals, sorghum, cotton, spinach, sukuma wiki, onions, water melons, green grams and capsicum are among the crops flourishing as they wait for the event to start.
“We have planted sunflower through drip irrigation. Some crops like tomatoes, capsicum and maize need controlled water, but we have grown brinjals through furrow irrigation because they need more water. For pepper, green grams, butternut and water melons, we are using sprinkler,” said Tyson Ngosi, a farm manager.
Ngosi noted that green grams, which are widely cultivated in Tana River County, do well in the Coast climate.
“The crop takes two months to mature and is planted directly in the field. We are also trying to introduce cotton farming to farmers,” he added.
At the Ministry of Agriculture farm, among the crops farmers will be educated on is sunflower H8998. The ministry wants more Coast farmers to grow the crop, which is drought-resistant. H8998 has high oil content and matures in about 100 days unlike other varieties that take 130 to 135 days.
At the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro), 10 sugar cane varieties including D8484, which does well at the Coast, will be showcased to farmers.
There is also Tajirika cassava variety, which is drought-resistant, takes three to four months to mature and produces more yields. Bixa and sisal are among other suitable crops for the region.
Paul Kisiangani, a horticulturalist with Agribusiness Youth Society of Kenya, said exporters are eying the region because of the high-value cash crops that do well there.
“Pineapples produced at the Coast are very sweet, the sugar content is high and can help farmers improve their income. I know very many exporters who are looking for buyers and pawpaws are also good and there is a ready market for them,” Kisiangani said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the show on September 5. Mombasa ASK branch chairman Anisa Abdalla said farmers will learn more on modern agricultural innovations and technology.
This year’s theme is ‘Promoting innovation and trade in agriculture and trade’.