• April 23, 2024
  • Last Update April 23, 2024 10:40 PM
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Reprieve as farmers in West Pokot receive maize seed as planting season kicks off

Reprieve as farmers in West Pokot receive maize seed as planting season kicks off


Monday March 25, 2024

KNA by Richard Muhambe/Erickson Kiprotich

Small scale maize farmers in parts of West Pokot County have appealed to the county government to consider increasing maize seed donations owing to the increased number of households in need of free farm inputs.

While receiving maize seeds donated by the county government at Cheptuya Market in West Pokot Sub County over the weekend, the farmers said that due to the population increase, the residents are finding it challenging to afford certified maize seeds thus affecting food production in the area.

They noted that despite the small farms, the maize produced by the small scale farmers greatly supplements food stocks thus making residents depend less on relief food.

“Our major challenge in this location is that the human population has increased to an extent that those in need of seed donations are many. Majority cannot afford the cost of the certified seeds because it is a bit expensive,” said Abraham Nameri.

Nameri explained that there were no maize seeds distribution agents within the location forcing farmers to spend fortunes in travel costs which he argued can buy one 2kg packet of maize seeds which is uneconomical to a farmer wanting only one.

He commended the county government under the leadership of Governor Simon Kachapin for coming up with the initiative of donating maize seeds to vulnerable families that have difficulties in acquiring essential farm inputs.

“This donation has come at the appropriate moment since the rains have started falling and we had prepared our farms in readiness for planting but some families had not purchased inputs because they lacked means. This donation is going to cushion many families,” stated the farmer.

Residents observed that maize production in the area has been on a downward trend; some farmers were grading their own seeds due to the high cost of the certified ones.

They challenged the government to extend the subsidies to the maize like it has done on the fertiliser arguing that production will still be low if farmers acquire some farm inputs cheaply but fail to use certified seeds.

“We welcome the donation although a good number of the targeted farmers have missed. We wish that in future our county government allocates more budgets so that everyone in the targeted population can benefit from the kitty,” said Ken Lobwanye, a village elder.Lobwanye revealed that even though all his enumerated households for the programme had received a 2kg packet each, some other villages had members missing out.

“My village had 123 members and each has received a 2kg packet of maize seeds. If the county has started giving us maize seeds, we should do our best to secure fertiliser which the government has subsidized so as to make our area food sufficient,” advised the village elder.

They have asked the governor with his administration to liaise with the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) to consider having a sub-depot at Cheptuya market so as to save the farmers the travelling expenses to Kapenguria Town which is uneconomical for small scale farmers.

“We need a fertiliser distribution centre at Cheptuya market to help cut costs for farmers coming from as far as Logornoi, Kadogony and Mortome who are spending a lot in transportation to Kapenguria to buy the subsidised fertilisers,” appealed Lobwanye.

The residents have asked the government to also tighten its noose to save farmers from falling into traps of unscrupulous business people likely to supply fake farm inputs as it has been reported in other places in the country.

Courtesy; KNA

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