A non-governmental organisation has developed a maize variety which could increase production and ensure food security.
The Integrated Community Organisation for Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (Icoseed) in corroboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research and Livestock Organization(Karlo) has developed water-efficient maize, which can survive and produce high yields under harsh climatic conditions.
Icoseed Managing Director Patrick Muriuki said the new variety, which takes three months to mature, is ready for release to farmers this coming planting season.
He said it is disease-resistant and its tip remains fully covered allowing water to find its way into the cob and preventing birds from destroying the grain. It bends downwards upon maturity.
Mr Muriuki added that the new variety has proved to be immune to maize stalk borer which has been a menace to many farmers for years resulting in low yields.
"This variety is high-yielding and with proper crop husbandry, a farmers is comfortably assured of 30 bags harvest per acre planted, and this is a true assurance of realising the elusive food security," the official said.
He said farmers from drought-stricken areas like Ukambani and the Coast region where rain is scarce would greatly benefit from the variety.
"The seed is also ideal in any part of the Mt Kenya region where maize is the staple food for the residents and it does not matter whether there are long rains or not," he said.
Muriuki said research has confirmed that the maize is drought-tolerant and farmers will now be encouraged to engage in grain production as a business.
Speaking at Icoseed's demonstration plots in Kutus, Kirinyaga County, yesterday Muriuki said out of the six varieties in the study, water-efficient maize of Africa had proved to be the best of all hence its adoption for the next season.
He said the variety is already in the market and was being sold at the same price as other maize seeds despite its superior nature.
Farmers from the region have been invited for a field day at the facility this Friday when they will be educated on the many benefits of the new variety before they start preparing for the season.
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