Farmers in regions that receive less rain have been urged to embrace a new hybrid of maize that is water efficient and matures within a short period.
Speaking in Kutus, Kirinyaga County, during agricultural field day Dr. Murenga Mwimali, the Principal Research Scientist at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) said the new hybrid WEMA4141(WE414) is climate change ready and can tolerate major crops diseases. WEMA derived from Water Efficient Maize for Africa was researched for by KALRO and Africa Agricultural Technology.
“This new hybrid is early maturing, tolerant to maize diseases and more important high yielding. We have demonstrated to farmers the output and also the response from those who planted last season.,” Mwimali said
Dr. Mwimali also noted the hybrid is high yielding and the stalk remains green for a longer time making it best for feeding livestock after harvesting.
“Beyond harvesting the stalk and cobs remains green bringing about another advantage of animal feeds”
He warned the farmers to use hybrids and not to recycle it as it lowers the productivity.
Patrick Muriuki, Director Integrated Community Organization on Sustainable Empowerment and Education for Development (ICOSEED), said they work closely with agricultural research organizations to ensure they get high value hybrids which in turn increase food production.
He noted that to achieve food security in Kenya, maize which is staple food must be produced in large quantities. He said WE4141 can produce between 35-45 bags per acre during dry season making it for areas with little rains like Mwea, Mbeere, Tharaka parts of Muranga and other regions.
“WEMA4141 matures between 3-4 months and with low rains you can get 35-45 bags per acre. We have listened to farmers who planted the hybrid giving positive feedback. We encourage those in semi-arid areas to embrace the variety. Kenya we need enough maize to be self-sufficient,” Muriuki said.
Phylis Karinga, farmer, said to bridge the food gap the new hybrid will play a big role because of its high yielding potential. She urged the farmers to plant the crop noting that it dries faster to the standard required moisture content for millers, reducing cases of aflatoxin.
“I harvested 37 bags in one acre of this hybrid variety. To end hunger in Kenya this variety hybrid should be planted by all farmers and within two seasons everybody will have food. It also dries up faster for milling after harvesting.”
Daniel Magondu, chair ICOSSED and famer, called upon the government to recognize farmers by setting aside a national day where they are given the opportunity to meet all stakeholder share challenges and make proposals.
Source: Kenya News