FARMERS IN WESTERN KENYA BEING ENCOURAGED TO GROW PULSES

NAIROBI, The East African Grain Council is targeting farmers in Meru and Machakos counties and other parts of western Kenya as it spearheads efforts to increase the production of pulses.

Kenya currently produces about 800,000 tonnes of pulses annually, of which less than 20 per cent is exported despite huge demand. Shalem Investments, a local family-owned business engaged in food crops, has commissioned a grain and pulses processing plant in Meru which targets to process grains from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and is undertaking the training 20,000 smallholder farmers in the country on farming of pulses.

While the quest to attain food security has largely centred on maize production where farmers receive subsidized fertilizer, seeds and equipment incentives, other commodities have received little or no attention at all from both the national and county governments despite their ability to help diversify the country’s food reserve.

Experts are now calling for government support for the cultivation of pulses, which include, among other crops, beans, cow peas, lentils, green grams and pigeon peas.

The East African Grain Council is targeting to boost production of pulses from the current 800,000 tonnes in counties where the crops can thrive. It says there is a huge demand for pulses, especially in Asian countries.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK