It is a fact that the adverse effects of climate change are now taking a toll on the country’s agricultural productivity.
The rainfall pattern has changed and there is a rise in pests and diseases. Farmers, therefore, need to change tack if they are to continue profiting from their ventures. This includes by embracing innovation and technology.
It is against this background that the Nation Media Group’s Seeds of Gold, together with its partners, will on November 9 hold its Rift Valley Edition of the Farm Clinic series at the Egerton University in Njoro, Nakuru.
The event, whose theme is ‘Enhancing food security through technology and innovation’, will focus on farm mechanisation, horticulture, maize and wheat farming, dairy and poultry production, among other farming areas.
The farm clinic, which will be held in partnership with Egerton University and the Nakuru county government, is sponsored by farm input supplier Elgon Kenya Ltd, fertiliser distributor OCP-Kenya, farm machinery suppliers ISUZU EA, CMC Motors and Toyota Kenya, animal health and crop production inputs dealer Coopers K-Brands, pharmaceutical products manufacturer Cosmos Ltd, agritech-management solutions firm Eprod Solutions Limited, animal health and nutrition firm Sidai Africa, seed maker SeedCo and beer manufacturer East Africa Breweries Ltd.
The event will provide an opportunity for farming and agribusiness enthusiasts to interact with professionals in the different fields, as well as their peers.
It will also feature a farm tour and exhibition stalls, enabling farmers to interact one-on-one with specific agro-dealers and be given facts on improving their ventures.
The Seeds of Gold farm clinics have become a boon to farmers as they provide a platform through which farmers can network and get trusted information on the challenges they are grappling with.
Prof Paul Kimurto, a crop science expert at Egerton University, says the institution is ready to host the event and will have a pool of experts from different departments to help farmers address challenges.
He said at the end of the event, farmers will go back to their farms with the right information.
CREATING A HUNGER-FREE KENYA
“Farmers can rest assured that they will have a feel of some of the latest technologies and innovations in farming as well as the best management practices in agriculture and agribusiness, all administered by our experts,” Prof Kimurto said.
He noted that for those seeking a platform to venture into the export market, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) experts will be at hand to offer them the best guidance, while the university as well as Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) specialists will address wide-ranging challenges that farmers experience on their farms.
“There will be more than seven topics that experts will address and farmers can expect to leave the gathering more satisfied and knowledgeable,” Prof Kimurto said.
Nelson Maina, the communications and marketing manager at Elgon Kenya, said growing enough quality food from the rapidly dwindling land sizes has become a challenge.
Thus, there is pressure on farmers to maximise yields and produce crops of ever higher quality, and this is where the farm clinics come in.
“Qualified livestock and plant health officials will be available to answer any questions and offer timely interventions.
And as we strive 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,” said Mr Maina.
James Sogoti, the general manager-commercial at the Nation Media Group, said agriculture being a key cog in the country’s food security agenda, more has to be done to enhance the farmers’ productivity and activities such as farm clinics are a key ingredient in ensuring this.
“As part of the Seeds of Gold food security support initiative, the forthcoming farming clinic at Egerton University will be one of its kind. We have assembled various experts in partnership with those from the host university and our sponsors to engage farmers as they respond on day-to-day challenges they face on their farms. We invite farmers from all regions to join us on November 9, at Egerton University Njoro grounds in Nakuru,” said Sogoti.