Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Farmers keeping farm records despite crop failure

Farmers in sipili division have embraced Farm Record Management Information System (FARMIS), a product of Sokopepe Limited that is helping farmers keep good farm records. Since its introduction five months ago, more than four hundred farmers have been registered. Changing weather patterns as an effect of climate change has been linked to crop failure in most part of the country. Laikipia county has not been an exception and most parts of the county has recorded massive crop failure due to lack of enough rainfall to support crop growth.

Mrs. Elcy Kigano , crops officer during one of the farmer trainings
Most farmers in Sipili division have planted more than three times as a result of unpredictable small amounts of rainfall which has been falling in the area leaving crops to die at an early stages leaving farmers pockets dry. Farmers have been receiving training from ALIN and Ministry of Agriculture on better cropping systems and how they need to take care of their crop. This has been accomplished by setting up demonstration plots at different locations within Sipili and Muhotetu divisions.

 Mr. Stephen Kariuki, a farmer in Sipili  has felt the heat as he has planted three times without success.
"I have planted three times this season. every time I use more than four thousand to purchase certified seeds for my three acre farm. I'm discouraged as I used all the money I had saved and the third crop has dried up."

Mr. Francis Kiarahu, also a farmer, has also been affected by the drought. However, he has diversified his farming and incorporated other crops like cassava, sweet potatoes, indigenous vegetables, herbs and fruit trees. Despite the crop failure, he has been earning money from the sell of fruits and herbs.

Mr Kiarahu updating his farm book
"I have been surviving on sales from fruits and herbs. Although my first crop failed, My second crop has survived and doing well." Said Mr Kiharau.
"I am now keeping good track of my production costs through FARMIS and I want to ascertain weather I make profit of loss from my farming." He added.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr. Peter Mwangi who is using Farm book to track production costs on his three acres of maize and one acre of wheat.

"I want to do farming as a business despite the weather challenges and have learned without good records, Its not possible. Thanks to Sokopepe Limited and ALIN for the service." said Mr Mwangi.

Rains have been experienced in the month of August. However, most crops had either stunted growth or dried up and this has caused may farmers to replant.
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