Migori County through the department of agriculture and cooperative development has hastened the registration of farmers to benefit from the government’s subsidised fertilizer.
The move is aimed at tripling the number of farmers to get subsidised fertilizer so as to increase maize crop production across the county.
According to the County Director of crops production, Mr James Masisa Migori is targeting to have 70,000 acres of land under maize plantation, an increase from half the number witnessed from the previous planting season.
Mr Masisa noted that the collaboration of national and county governments under the agriculture sector will ensure the country is supplied with enough food. To achieve this he stressed that early preparation of farmers which entails early planting.
Last season during the short rains, Migori county had a total of 49 400 hectares of maize. This low capacity was due to the high cost of production especially the cost of fertilizer, which discouraged farmers from planting.
“For us to succeed, we have to prepare from the word go. We don’t want to see our farmers plant late. Delayed planting will result in low yields. We have to plant early and get fertilizer in time,” he underscored.
Speaking to the press in Migori town, the chief officer of agriculture and cooperative development Mr John Michael Midwa outlined that the subsidised fertilizer initiative which was launched by the national government in collaboration with the county government seeks to lower production costs.
Out of 47 counties in the country, Migori county is among the 12 counties that will have its farmers benefit from the subsidised fertilizer having been ranked among the top ten counties with high agricultural productions and standing at 3 per cent.
Narok County is ranked in the top with 12 per cent agricultural production of maize.
Mr Midwa noted that the deadline for registration which was slated for this week Friday 27 January, has been extended to make the process continuous thus most farmers get to be registered.
Currently, the county has registered only 19,000 farmers versus the actual target of 174,000 farmers.
As opposed to the initial registration process which involved chiefs going out to register farmers, farmers will now be required to visit chiefs and sub-chief officers to have their details captured.
The officer cleared doubts over the number of fertilizer bags that each farmer will get regardless of the size of their farm. Instead, he assured farmers will get fertilizer equal to the number of acreages registered.
“I want to assure farmers that for every acreage of land, they shall have registered in this phase one, they will get an allocation of subsidised fertilizer equal to it,” said Mr Midwa.
He continued, “this is not only restricted to farmers alone but even farmer organisations and other cooperative groups are eligible for this program.”
On soil sampling to determine the right fertilizer for the type of soil for maize growing, the government has already done sampling and established the right type of fertilizer for maize production in the selected regions.
The introduction of cheap and subsidised fertilizer by the national government will ensure more farmers are encouraged to plant and hence high maize production to cushion the county from hunger.
Mr Midwa noted that the county is headed in the right direction agriculture-wise for having set funds to operationalise several projects. Among them is the operationalisation of the Getonganya sweet potation processing plant, where the county has set aside 15 million shillings as seed capital.
The project is to be implemented towards the end of February.
With a low number of extension officers currently experienced in the agricultural department, Mr Midwa outlines that the county is set to do mass recruitment of extension officers to boost work output.