Farmers in Mbeere region produced 837,000kg of green grams (ndengu) during the last season, Agriculture Executive Annie Nyaga has revealed.
Consequently, the county government has started an initiative to boost production and marketing of the crop.
The Agriculture department has issued 5,000kg of early maturing green gram seeds to farmers this planting season, hoping to increase production by 35 per cent.
Ms Nyaga said they have distributed 625kg of the certified N26 green gram variety to each of the eight wards in the area. An acre takes 4kg of the seeds.
“From that input, we expect farmers to harvest an extra 300,000kg of green grams. About 2,500 households have got the seeds,” she said.
She said the green grams, being drought resilient, suits the region whose land is fertile but the rainfall is erratic.
“We have issued strict guidelines in the distribution of seeds and other planting materials. The distribution should be done fairly among farmers in the wards involved. The materials were released from the county stores two weeks before the onset of the rains to give farmers enough time to prepare their land,” she said.
Nyaga said timely planning and planting will lead to better yields.
At a different forum, Governor Martin Wambora announced plans to support green grams farmers through grants that will be disbursed to those in groups.
Farmers prefer the crop as it matures early, has a low water demand and ready market.
During a public participation forum on Embu’s 2018-2019 budgetary estimates, residents urged the county government to push for a regional cereals and produce board to help green gram farmers to earn more from the crop.
The farmers said the board would provied them with subsidised fertiliser and other inputs, store the crop after harvest, add value by polishing and grading green grams in order to fetch better prices.
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