Kenya's second time to host event exposing farmers to world's best ploughmen

Participants from New Zealand prepare their tractor during practice for the World Ploughing Contest to be held at Egerton University. [Photo:Harun Wathari|Standard]

The 64th World Ploughing Contest has attracted 26 affiliated countries drawn from across the globe.

The annual event hosted in Kenya this year has already kicked off at Egerton University in Nakuru County and brings together world’s best ploughmen, who will be competing for the top prize over the next 10 days.

Kenya,the only county to host the event in Africa, will be holding it for the second time since 1995, when it first hosted.

According to Juliet Wamiri, an official from the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK), preparations are in place and participants are already doing trial runs.

“Everything is in place and most competitors are at the site practising,” said Ms Wamiri, adding that President Uhuru Kenyatta was expected to officiate the event on Friday.

Boost sector

The contest, which is organised by ASK, is expected to boost the sector's performance while helping to showcase the world’s best ploughing skills.

Bathram Muthoka, the ASK CEO, said the event would be a major boost for Kenya's agriculture sector while also positioning the country as a regional agricultural hub.

"As a country, we are proud to host this rare event where farmers will be exposed to the world's best ploughers," he said.

According to Malcom Taylor, a competitor from New Zealand, the contest is not just about winning but also helping to equip farmers with better ploughing skills.

“A ploughman's best achievement is imparting skills to farmers in order to boost their production. Good ploughing always bear good results, which many farmers across the world need to understand," said Mr Taylor.

Kenya has two participants - Joshua Kigen and Simon Otindi - for the two categories, conventional and reversible ploughing.

Modern machines

“We are optimistic that we will represent our country well despite the lack of modern or specialised machines... but we believe that we will make it because the event is being held at home,” said Mr Kigen.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui urged farmers to attend the event where ploughing skills as well as farm machinery will be on display.

“The competition is significant in transforming the agriculture sector in the region as well as showcasing the world’s best ploughing skills and machinery,” Mr Kinyanjui said.

Symon Mahungu, Egerton University's liaison officer, expressed confidence that hosting the event would boost the institution's status globally.