County to launch sorghum production

Kirinyaga county government is making arrangements to start distributing free Gadam sorghum seeds to residents of South Ngariama settlement scheme as a way of fighting endemic poverty in the area.

The exercise which will see the residents receive 2,000 kg of the free seeds is expected to kick off before the onset of this season’s short rains .

The Gadam sorghum is best suited for industrial production of beer and farmers are expected to rake thousands of shillings from sale of the produce which will be marketed to Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL).

Under the new arrangement, residents in the 21,000 acre settlement scheme will similarly benefit from free crop management lessons from KBL officials to ensure the success of the project.

Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri said the new move would not only open the once vast wasteland to agriculture production but also help improve the livelihoods of hundreds of its residents who live in abject poverty.

The introduction of Gadam sorghum in South Ngariama is one of the most ambitious agriculture programmes for this county. With a guaranteed market in place, we believe farmers in Ngariama will reap attractive benefits from the sale of the produce and consequently help to improve their economic standards, he said

Ndambiri further said the county government was looking for a high yielding Irish potato variety ideal for the ecological conditions of the area through the help of researchers from Kamweti Farmers Training Center in Kirinyaga East Sub County.

Once the variety is out, the government will then distribute to farmers for planting at subsidised costs.

Mr Ndambiri has said that a similar programme to source for a high yielding bean seed variety is currently going on at the Kenya Agriculture Research Center in Katumani which will see farmers increase bean production in the area.

The pilot project for launching the seed will be carried out in Kirinyaga West Sub County where the first crop will be planted solely for bulking purposes.

We want to use Kirinyaga West Sub County as our first launching pad in this pilot project and we intend to plant 100 kilograms for multiplication purposes.

This will eventually ensure we have a continuous supply of high yielding bean seeds for our farmers throughout the county and also for the retail market, added Ndambiri.

Source: Kenya News Agency