Farmers urged to access credit through micro-finance

By Standard Reporter

Cereal farmers in the wheat and barley growing districts have been urged to take advantage of micro-finance facilities to access credit.

The facilities help farmers access credit to enable them acquire farm inputs such as chemicals and fertilisers.

Agrochemical firm, Orion East Africa runs the Kilimo Faida facility through which farmers can access Sh4 billion credit from Equity Bank. The fund has been facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with the Koffi Annan led AGRA.

Speaking during a farmers training workshop sponsored by Orion East Africa in Nakuru, Mr Ronald Munyendo, the firm’s Technical Director recommended that farmers test soils to determine fertility levels. He said low copper levels in wheat and barley growing zones should be tackled urgently to avert yield losses. Farmers were advised to buy certified seeds from reputable manufacturers such as the Kenya Seed Company and East African Maltings.

The seeds are pre-treated with Aminocop to compensate for the soil deficiency and improve the grain quality of wheat and barley.

Farmers were also urged to use soil conditioners such as AgriSoc to loosen soils and improve water infiltration and moisture during the expected long rains. This will assist the crops to withstand short dry spells because of erratic rainfall.

The more than 500 participants were asked to abandon monocropping, which spreads diseases such as wheat stem rust that threatens the country’s food security.

"Crop yields have been declining due to soil acidity, compaction, poor water retention and over-use of acidic fertilisers," said Munyendo.