Farm clinics at heart of Big Four Agenda - Daily Nation

Farm clinics at heart of Big Four Agenda

Saturday July 7 2018

Participants at a past Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic.

Participants at a past Seeds of Gold Farm Clinic. From this coming Friday, our farm clinic will be held at Kirinyaga University in Kirinyaga County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By NELSON MAINA
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Next week on Friday and Saturday, Seeds of Gold in partnership with Elgon Kenya, Bayer East Africa, Cooper K-Brands and SimbaCorp, will be holding its ninth clinic at Kirinyaga University

The clinic comes against the backdrop of new challenges on the farm that include diseases and pests like the Fall armyworm and Tuta absolute. These challenges have made the need for accurate information an urgency to farmers.

However, farmers are currently grappling with an overload of unverified information, especially in the digital space, on various issues that affect them.

It is important to note any misinformation often leads to a trail of destruction on the farms. The misinformation is coming at a time when extension officers, initially the source of trusted information, remain inaccessible by farmers.

Numerous reports have indicated that by 2050, the global population will hit nine billion with a concomitant impact on food demand.

Growing enough quality food from dwindling land sizes will be increasingly difficult and the pressure will be on farmers to maximise yields and produce crops of ever higher quality.

At the heart of preparing the farmers to tackle such Herculean task lies information access. Interventions by institutions like Food and Agriculture Organisation have shown that farmers who are empowered with knowledge on even the basic of farm management practices have gone on to more than double yields.

Seeds of Gold farm clinics have become a forum where experts and farmers meet and share information and the most pressing problems facing the industry.

The upcoming edition comes at a time when the agriculture sector is receiving the much-needed attention.

In line with the food security initiative in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda, the clinics become a crucial forum for industry players keen on growing yields, income and elevating the sector to the status it rightly deserves.

FARMING REVOLUTION

As Elgon Kenya, Nation Media Group and other partners, our focus has been on new age farming technologies and inputs that insulate farmers from harsh climate.

The past eight editions have been an eye-opener in championing the way future ones will be conducted while offering important lessons on what farmers really want.

The attendance has been remarkable with farmers travelling from across every corner of the country, some to just ask questions they have struggled to find answers to while others attend to share their success stories.

Indeed, the clinics are slowly creating a farming revolution and we have received impetus to visit all the 47 counties to ensure that the right information reaches the right people at the right time.

To better handle farmers’ varied needs, more partners including Cooper K-Brands and Bayer East Africa, have come on board, helping to bring closer to smallholder farmers affordable and modern products while investing in their training.

The partnership between Elgon Kenya and Bayer marks another milestone in the two companies’ long-standing relationship guided by their shared values and history in making Kenya a land of plenty by providing innovative and home-grown solutions to small-scale farmers.

The newly unveiled Animal Health Department of Elgon Kenya also features in the clinics. The unit seeks to respond to growing market demand for livestock products among smallholder farmers especially those who have diversified into livestock farming.

Trained animal health officials will be available to answer any questions and offer timely interventions. And as we look to actualise the aspirations of creating a hunger-free Kenya and transforming the country into a land of plenty, we can only count on each other to make this happen.

The writer is the communication and marketing manager at Elgon Kenya.