High quality seeds of green grams, millet, sorghum and groundnuts released by the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to over 300 farmers in Kerio Valley have boosted yields and earnings in the last one year.
The groundnuts and green grams varieties KS20, CG7 and ICCV90704 are adapted to the hot weather conditions of Kerio Valley.
Farmers earned Sh9 million by cultivating 44 hectares of green grams and 161.8 hectares of groundnuts, according to ICRISAT officials.
The farmers were trained on improved planting practices, which helped boost their yields from three to four bags per 0.4 hectares to seven to eight bags.
The training also focused on correct spacing, importance of earthing up for groundnuts to facilitate better pod formation, pests and disease control. Among the pests prevalent in the area are pod borers, cutworms and aphid, while diseases include early blight, leaf spot and groundnut Rossette virus.
The regions where farmers were trained on better agronomic practices include Kapkayo, Biretwo, Kabulwo and Arror, helping them to triple their acreage under groundnuts to 364 hectares.
The area under green grams increased from 48 hectares to over 116 hectares.
The farmers were also trained on the need to aggregate the harvest for collective marketing of the produce and better price negotiations. The Purdue improved cow peas storage (PICS) bags were introduced to manage post-harvest losses.
The bags have been effective in maintaining seed integrity up to the next planting season, as it maintains low levels of oxygen and higher levels of carbon dioxide, killing all insects.
ICRISAT observes that promotion of modern practices and technologies has enhanced the adoption of improved varieties, increased awareness, and contributed to inclusive agricultural growth and availability of surplus for marketing as well as food sufficiency at households.
Consequently, nutrition has been improved due to enhanced consumption of high value legumes and cereals, reducing dependence on livestock for livelihoods.