Farmers in North Rift advised to start planting as rains set in


County Agriculture Executive Committee Member Mary Nzomo at a past agricultural function [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

Farmers in Trans Nzoia County have been asked to plant their crops for the season between March 15 and April 14 as the rains begin to pound in most parts of the North Rift region.

County Agriculture Executive Committee Member Mary Nzomo said that early planting helps control pests and diseases, while the crops matures faster for harvesting at the right time.

Addressing farmers at the Kitale Club after a golf series sponsored by the Kenya Seed Company, Ms Nzomo said the county government will offer necessary support to farmers to ensure they get bumper harvests.

She said that climate change had affected weather patterns and advised farmers to begin planting mid this week.

“The long rains are expected anytime from today. I want to assure farmers that we are with you in this journey. I know it’s a challenging season, but we shall offer the necessary support,” said Ms Nzomo.

She said that the county administration has a seeds subsidy programme for other crops apart from maize, which will be offered under a diversification programme that seeks to end overreliance on maize.

The crops include coffee, tea, avocado, macadamia and tissue culture banana seedlings. The county government will offer subsidies and allow farmers to pay half price.

The Agriculture Executive also emphasised the need to choose the right types of seeds and fertilisers that best suit the soil types.

Noting that most soils in the county were acidic due to overuse of DAP fertilisers that lower the PH, Ms Nzomo called on farmers to use fertilisers with lower acidic content.

She also underscored the importance of applying lime to the soil to reduce high acidity levels.

Further, the CECM challenged farmers to adopt minimum tilling to ensure higher productivity. “We have the right machines for use in conservation agriculture, some of which we have displayed.”

During the event held at the weekend, stakeholders showcased their farm products and services, with Kenya Seed Company (KSC) assuring farmers of adequate seed supplies.

KSC Managing Director Fred Oloibe assured farmers that seed varieties for various crops and grasses are available at the company shop, as well as with stockists around the country.