What you need to know:
- The experts took the students and farmers through beekeeping, fish farming, greenhouse technology, and organic farming.
- In organic farming farmers were trained on sustainable agriculture with minimal chemical use.
Farmers flocked Baraka Agricultural College in Molo on Friday to get tips on how to improve crop and livestock production.
Urban farmers also received information on intensive gardening popularly known as corn gardening and bucket gardening.
The event, whose theme was Agricultural innovations for food security and improved livelihoods, attracted participants from Nakuru, Bomet and Kericho counties. Also in attendance were students from various secondary schools in the region.
The experts took the students and farmers through beekeeping, fish farming, greenhouse technology, and organic farming among other modern farming techniques.
In organic farming farmers were trained on sustainable agriculture with minimal chemical use. They also got tips on agribusiness and agro-processing.
The farmers also toured the workshop where farm machinery and equipment are made.
Since the college emphasises on sustainable agriculture, farmers were given tips on minimal chemical usage.
A crops tutor and short course coordinator at the institution Ms Percy Njeri said: “The purpose of this field day is to expose farmers to various innovations and technologies in modernised agriculture.”
“We trained farmers on safe chemical use, considering the rising cases of cancer which is partly blamed on usage of chemicals in our farms,” said Njeri.
Farmers were also taken through pest and disease control especially fall army worms.
FALL ARMY WORMS
“The fall my worms are becoming resistant to pesticides, we are training farmers to practice organic farming,” said Ms Njeri.
Mr Joseph Kibowen from Sotik, lamented that growing maize is no longer profitable.
“Production has declined due to fall army worms but I am happy I will use the knowledge I have received to tackle the menace,” said Kibowen.
At the sheep section, there were three type of breeds -merino, corriedale and hamshire. Farmers interested in rearing sheep for wool got tips on how to shave the animals.
“Farmers should make sheds to protect sheep from direct sunlight and heavy rain,” said Nelson Keya a student at the college.
The farmers were given tips on how to control ticks by spraying animals on a weekly basis. Mr Dennis Cheruiyot, a first year student, said that carrot farming will be profitable if farmers stick to modern farming methods.
Mr Peter Warutere had a hectic time answering questions from those wishing to practice urban farming.
“In this technology, we are encouraging farmers to use a small space of land and produce organically grown vegetables.”
Potato farmers also raised concerns about shortage of quality seeds. However, they were told Baraka Agricultural College is producing shangi, Kenya Karibu and Dutch variety.
“Many farmers fail to record high yields as a result of mono cropping, failure to check soil fertility and planting non certified seeds,” said Wilson Anyango, an agriculture expert trainee at the college.
Mr Paul Ouma, an agriculture expert at the college noted that cabbage production depends on the variety the farmer planted.
“Land preparation is critical and farm yard manure or conventional fertiliser should be used as recommended by experts for maximum yields. Excess usage of fertiliser leads to excessive foliage growth which will not benefit the farmers,” said Ouma.