Small-scale farmers in arid and semi-arid areas in Meru, Mbeere and Tharaka Nithi areas have embraced sorghum farming to adapt to climate change.
After lengthy droughts that compromised the production of maize, beans and other crops, the farmers have now taken up the growing of the fast-maturing gadam sorghum variety.
Now the farmers in Athiru Gaiti and other villages in the dry parts of northern Meru are reporting success because there is a ready market for the sorghum.
To empower the farmers, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), a network of more than 1000 organisations from 48 countries in Africa, mobilised the communities and distributed the seeds and other necessary inputs.
Led by Mithika Mzalendo, a climate change champion, said the aim of getting locals to take up sorghum growing was to empower them to cope with adverse effects of climate change.
"We want to empower them to adapt," he said.
Now farmers like Johnson Mutwiri are realising good sorghum yields, with most of it sold to East Africa Breweries Ltd.
"My crop is doing very well. This is my second season," said Mutwiri.
PACJA's James Kanyi said the variety matures in three and a half months and they do routine monitoring of the farms and offer technical advice to farmers to succeed.
He said from a one-acre parcel of land a farmer is able to get 15 bags of sorghum, weighing 90kg each.
"We assist in marketing, technical advice and subsidised inputs," said Kanyi.
He said they work with East Africa Malting Ltd, a subsidiary of EABL, in providing a ready market for the yields.
James Nthiga, a farmer, planted the crop on six acres in Tharaka and says the potential is huge.
"It is a good crop. One 90kg can fetch up to Sh4,000. What residents need is enough seeds and the knowledge," he said.
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