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Laikipia farmers slowly abandoning maize, wheat farming for Miraa

By James Munyeki | Published Wed, January 11th 2017 at 11:57, Updated January 11th 2017 at 12:02 GMT +3

LAIKIPIA, KENYA: Over the past several years, farmers in Laikipia county have had to endure effects of human wildlife conflict that has seen their crops being destroyed by animals especially elephants.

Harsh weather conditions have also seen them incur heavy losses as most parts are either arid or semi arid.
And it is for this reason that farmers in the area have abandoned maize and wheat farming which is normally practiced in the area for a crop that many have never dreamt of.

The farmers have now embraced miraa farming which is normally associated with Meru region and its surroundings.
They now grow miraa in Pesi, Mutara and Matigari areas as part of a pilot project in collaboration with the county government. The government is supplying the farmers with irrigation kits.

According to one of the beneficiaries Mr David Kanyeki, the weather conditions and the soil fertility in the area are making it possible for the plant to do well.

"We have for a very long time grown maize and wheat but due to the bad weather conditions, it has not been paying off well. The elephant menace has also been a big problem as they destroy our crop leaving us with nothing. But the county government has come in handy and helped us plant a crop that is free from these problems," he said.
Kanyeki noted that half an acre of the plant is fetching over Sh100,000 in return.

"This is incomparable. The maize crop used to take a whole year and the profit was minimal unlike the Muguka species which grows fast. The profit is far much better," he said.

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