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Uasin Gishu County to purchase high power tractors to boost food security

UASIN GISHU
By MICHAEL OLLINGA | Mar 7th 2014 | 2 min read
Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago.

BY MICHAEL OLLINGA

Eldoret, Kenya: Uasin Gishu County will soon be purchasing high power tractors and chisel ploughs in a move to embrace zero tillage technologies and boost food security in the area.

Zero tillage also referred to as no-till or direct seeding is a ploughing method where the soil is disturbed as little as possible. The crop is directly planted into a non-tilled seedbed that hosted the previous crop harvest.

Dr Cyril Cheruiyot the County Executive Committee (CEC) member in charge of Livestock and Agriculture told The Standard that, it is only through clasping modern farming technologies that the county can increase its crop and animal production.

Cheruiyot said they are working on a budgetary plan that will see the purchase of over two high power tractors, which are capable of drawing the special chisel ploughs used for zero tillage.

“We have made a proposal to have money allocated for the purchase of the agricultural machinery in the 2014/2015 budget, these tractors are ideal because they can work irrespective of the season,” he explained.

According to Cheruiyot, crop production in the region and many parts of the county continues to decline because of sticking to the ancient ploughing techniques that tamper with the soil structure.

“Breaking of the soil structure not only tampers with the soil texture but compromises aeration, zero tillage is advantageous as it preserves soil moisture, reduces wind erosion and most importantly  cuts down on farm labour,” he stated.

“It takes little time to till the land thus reduced fuel consumption, this is a plus since the cost of production is reduced without a negative deviation in the levels of production,” he added.

He revealed that one tractor-drawn chisel plough can work on a minimum of 20 acres per day and favours both the medium and large-scale farmers.

The county wants to be hiring out the over 80 Horsepower tractors with ploughs at a subsidized rate to the farmers, with Cheruiyot saying that zero tillage is a new concept and there needs to be motivation for it to be largely embraced.

He said currently, only a few few large-scale farmers can afford the chisel ploughs in the region citing only one working similar machinery in Moiben area.

The County minister challenged farmers to form groups and consolidate funds to purchase such machinery, expressing optimism that the new technology will hugely supplement food production in the area even though it may take up to three years for the real benefits to be realized.

Besides acquiring the modern agricultural machinery the county is also determined to revive and improve dairy production through adoption of new breeding technologies that will see the local cattle upgraded to the pedigree level.

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