Farmers turn to hybrid seeds to fight climate change

Sorghum plantation. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Farmers have been urged to plant drought-resistant crops to adapt to climate change.

Kenyan researchers, through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) partnership, have introduced over 52 hybrid varieties of maize seed to help farmers withstand climatic change and also be productive.

Researcher Dr Murenga Mwimali, who works for Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research (KARLO) in Machakos, said farmers need seeds that can withstand harsh climatic conditions, pests, and diseases and not wither and mature faster.

Speaking during a farmers' field day at the Integrated Community Organisation for Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (ICOSEED) trial farm in Kutus, Kirinyaga County, ICOSEED Director Mugo Makanga said there is a need for modern methods of farming to improve production.

Physics Maina, a farmer at South Ngariama in Mwea East, planted one of the seed varieties as a trial on his three acres and produced approximately 150 bags.

"This was the best season I have ever had. The last time my farm area in Mwea East received enough rainfall was three years ago," she said.

Ms Maina told farmers not to shy away from or even doubt any trial seed, saying that while others are complaining that they did not have the best harvest, farmers who adapt can harvest high yields.

"I urge farmers to grab the opportunity to test new seeds. I took a risk, and today I am going to have over 100 bags from my three acres from the new maize seed variety (WE4141)," she said.

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