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Farmers urged to use new seed varieties and technology

BUSINESS
By Obare Osinde | February 10th 2020

Ag Managing Director Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) Bernard Nguyo award quality management System tool, ISO 9001:2015 to Kenya Seed Company CEO Azariah Soi (left) at KEBS head office in Nairobi in 2018. [File]

Kenya Seed Company Managing Director Azariah Soi has advised farmers to prepare their land early for planting and use of modern technologies to boost yields.

Speaking in Kitale, Soi (pictured) said there were enough certified seed stocks in licensed stocklists across the country.

“We have adequate certified seed stocks to meet the demand from local farmers and our neighboring countries and it is critical that farmers avoid fake seeds in the market,” he said.

According to Mr Soi, the firm had delivered seed stocks to regions where the planting season is expected to kick off.

Soi said the company has partnered with local and international agricultural firms to enhance research and modern farming technologies.

The firm, he said, has developed up to 60 high yielding hybrids that were tolerant to pests, diseases and drought.

“We have given much focus on research. This has helped us to develop hybrids which are high yielding and resistant to diseases and drought,’’ said Soi.

The new maize seed varieties include H528, H530 and H531 specifically tailored to address the the Striga menace in Western and Nyanza region.

Other seed varieties include KSDV01 and WE1101 that are tailored for arid and semi arid areas.

Meanwhile, heavy rains in the North Rift have sparked uncertainty among local farmers who are not sure if they will persist.

 A spot-check indicated that a handful of farmers have already planted while others are uncertain on whether the rains will continue.

“We are uncertain of the rains but we have taken the risk to plant early. We are hopeful that the rains will continue to enable our crop germinate,” said John Kerich.

Good returns from last year’s crop have encouraged farmers to prepare their farms early in anticipation of better yields this season.

A 90-kilogramme bag of maize fetched Sh3,000 in 2019 compared to a price of Sh2,500 in 2018.

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