Furrow irrigation system set to pump water to channels and basins for irrigating the farm before planting begins.
A farmer in Nyamira County is collaborating with colleagues near water sources, one near Sondu River and another near a stream in Magwagwa Location to ease tomato production through drip and furrow irrigation systems during dry seasons.
Julius Onyancha who started farming five years ago has partnered with Reuben Sang’anyi whom they own a land near Magwagwa stream and Zachary Mose whom they also own a land near Sondu River. He works with the two separately on an equal share on production costs and profit agreement.
“This plan makes work easier because the production costs burden is not on an individual and the profit is bigger,” said Onyancha.
Onyancha was encouraged to partner with them after conducting a test with Sang’anyi last year on a quarter acre farm near the Magwagwa stream. They planted tomatoes January last year and by March the same year they harvested and sold the tomatoes earning them over Sh150, 000 profit.
This year they have decided to increase the size of the Magwagwa farm to an acre by renting more from the surrounding area. They installed drip irrigation at a tune of Sh200, 000 while the other farm near Sondu River has cost Sh40, 000 in installing furrow irrigation systems.
“The one acre farm near Sondu River managed by Mose used to earn little return because he employed the use of money maker pump for irrigation which is less effective as compared to the new engine water pump we have bought,” said Onyancha.
In order to avoid conflicts with Magwagwa residents using water from the stream, they would at night channel a volume of water from the stream to a hole in their farm for irrigation and close the channel during the day to keep the stream flowing in its volume for other users.
The three farmers are now planting their tomatoes in the farms despite the dry season which is experienced in most parts of the country expecting to have their first harvest by March when the tomato market price will be high.
“We always target the dry season because with irrigation systems in place, tomatoes really do well during seasons and the market price shoots just before the onset of long rains giving us good return,” said Onyancha.
“We buy irrigation materials from Nakuru while tomato seeds from Royal Seed. We love Rambo F1 tomato variety because it matures within 75 days after transplanting, its yield potential is 30 tonnes per acre, has good shelf life, it is tolerant to bacterial wilt and Fusarium Wilt (Fol: 1, 2) among other benefits.”
Onyancha who acquired his farming skills through farmers’ exposure tours by World Vision Kenya through Nyamusi Area Programme is now calling upon fellow farmers near water sources such as rivers, streams and dams among others to embrace irrigation for food production this dry season and save many from hunger.
For more contact Onyancha on 0721215896