Saturday, February 1, 2014

Demo gardens enhance farm practices



By Bett Kipsang'
Demo Garden near Sipili
 Introduction of a high yielding maize variety “Pioneer 30G19’’ will boost food security and agribusiness in Laikipia west. The seed produced by Pioneer Hi-bred, a Kenyan registered company, promoting production of white maize.

The company has employed very elaborate and practical methods of training farmers in best agronomic practices from land preparations to harvesting and post harvest management. 

‘‘To educate our farmers, we established several demo gardens in strategic areas within Sipili division’’ Said John Ndegwa, who works with the company. He said that the company provided farmers with seeds to plant and instructed them on the best methods of management. The method was found to be very effective, farmers are able to see the difference between the crops planted in “usual” style and those planted following the right procedures. 

  Pioneer 30G19, variety takes between five and six months to mature and the potential yield per acre are 50 bags on average.

  According to Ndegwa, poor farm management practices are to blame for poor yields, farmers mostly compromise the standard spacing, crop population in the farm and inter cropping which leads to unfair competitions for light and nutrients. 

Wajoram Displays a maize cob picked  from the Garden
Most farmers also do not know the soil requirement for their farms, and they tend to plant very large portions of land without following good procedure, a factor john attributed to poor yields and eventual losses.

Lack of soil knowledge has also led to continuous use of the wrong fertilizer every year. Ndegwa observed that soil samples from every farm needs to be tested to determine the kind of fertilizer and amount to be used. The required spacing for maize is (75 x25cm).

John Ndegwa Pioneer staff
  Pioneer 30G19 does well in medium to high altitudes between 1,000 to 1,800 meters’ above sea level. The company has organized field days at the demo gardens to show farmers the difference in yield and hence change the attitude of farmers after witnessing the starling performance of the maize variety. 

The crop has a good standing ability and is not very tall, hence cannot be fell down by the wind. This variety is also drought tolerant, resistant to many maize diseases and has good quality grains.

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