By ROBERT KIPLAGAT
Farmers in hunger-prone Marigat District have been urged to practice subsistence farming to end perennial food shortage.
Most farmers have been leasing out their farms to Kenya Seed Company, leaving them with little land for food crops.
According to area District Agricultural Officer Mr Ezekiel Chepkwony the farmers have let their farms to irrigation schemes such as Perkerra, Sandai, Kapkuikui, Kamoskoi and Eldume.
Mr Chepkwony said in Perkerra scheme for instance, out of 1,029 acres of maize plantations, 1,000 acres are contracted and only the remaining 29 hectares was under food crops, which he said was unsustainable.
He said leasing of farms entices most farmers as it provides them with steady income but not enough food.
“Despite the farmers having fertile, productive lands, most of them have contracted their farms to organisations such as Kenya Seed,” said Chepkwony.
Chepkwony told The Standard that most farmers also lack stores for the little crops they produce.
“This forces them to sell their produce soon after harvest, a habit that is unsustainable in fighting starvation in the semi-arid area,” he said.
Farmers, he urged, should venture into growing other food crops such as tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, and some cash crops such as water melons and butternuts instead of concentrating on maize that take long.
He regretted that all food that is being sold in the entire district is brought from areas such as Bomet, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu and other areas.
“Yet the irrigation schemes in the area can be utilised to produce surplus food,” said Chepkwony.