By George Munene
The Kenya Agricultural Research Organization (KALRO) has introduced new finger millet varieties that have an average yield potential of 1033 kilograms per hectare up from the previous 278 kilograms per hectare. This advancement in production capacity will be buttressed by a farmer-led marketing program that aims to strengthen millet’s marketing value chain to meet the cereal’s growing demand as well as sensitize farmers on the availability of improved varieties
These high-yielding millet varieties require less input in their production compared to existing cereals and produce more in grain and forage These new varieties are best suited for low to mid-altitude areas and medium to high altitude regions.
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To help farmers find a better market for their crop, KALRO’s Director-General Eliud Krieger said through the World Bank-funded Kenya Climate-Smart Project (KSCAP) project opportunities will be created across the millet farming value chain that empowers farmers to reap maximum profits from farming the cereal whose production has fallen from 126,000 metric tons in 2014 to just 72,000 metric tons in 2018.
At the farmer training day held in Kisumu, Krieger said the KSCAP project will directly reach some 360 farmers in the counties of Bomet and Kericho. These selected farmers will in turn train others in their communities in the implementation of the finger millet value chain development by establishing Farmer Field Business Schools (FFBS) that will comprise 20-30 members.
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“The ripple effect will build the capacity of thousands of farmers in Kericho and Bomet as well as other counties in finger millet farming as a business in a climate-smart context,” he said.
With the improved finger millet cultivars, he encouraged farmers to embrace modern agronomic practices such as row planting, fertilizer use, and recipe utilization in order to increase their production and income levels.
KALRO: +254 722206986/722206988