Boma Rhode hay farmers in Kenya can now earn both from the hay and seeds, earning almost sh100,000 per acre, thanks to the Kenya Seed Company that is currently buying those seeds for Sh333 per kilo.
Normally, only 5 kilo of seed is needed per acre with approximated yield of 400 bales. Farmers are likely to harvest 60 kilo of seeds from the same. Selling a bale of Boma Rhode hay for Sh200 and kilo of its seeds for Sh333, a farmer is likely to get total yield of Sh100, 000 per acre which is more than double to compare maize farmers who earn an average of Sh48,000 per acre.
Besides high revenues, Boma Rhode hay has less maintenance costs, with experts estimating total production costs to be up to Sh20,000 per acre.
Growing conditions and production
Boma Rhode hay grows well in well drained fertile soils with less acid. Soils with PH value of 5.5-6 and annual rainfall of at least 800mm is recommended.
READ ALSO: Nakuru hay farmer commended by UK
In order to produce this type of hay in an acre piece of land, at least 5 kilo of seeds which retails at Sh1000 per kilo is mixed with a kilo of sand before being broadcasted. The seed is best sown on the surface not deeper than 2 cm followed by rolling. Four tonnes of manure or 400kg of DAP; SSP or CAN per acre is applied while planting. In order to guard the hay against possible competition for nutrients with weeds, experts advise planting before the onset rains.
The hay takes up to a week to germinate and 12 weeks to mature. It takes further 2-4 weeks to produce seeds. This means, it takes almost 4 months to harvest the hay and seeds, hence at least three seasons in a year.
For one to be contacted by the Kenya Seed Company, integrity, quality and quantity production is a must. Churchill Kitazi, the Head of Marketing at the Kenya Seed Company in Nakuru, said that the company normally contract farmers with land not less than 50 acres. Small holder farmers must unite to meet the cut if they need to benefit from this lucrative venture.
READ ALSO: How to make silage from sweet potatoes
How to get contacted by the Kenya Seed Company
The farmer must apply to the company by filling the Seed Grower form which can be found on the company’s website. Farmers name, contacts, title deed, gender and age are some of details needed. The farmer must also commit to follow seeds production rules as stipulated in the Seeds and Plant varieties Act of the Kenyan Constitution as well as advice from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).
This application can be done online with a farmer required to attach copies of National Identification card, land registration certificate and sketch map of the land. No application fee is required.