By MAZERA NDURYA firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted Sunday, July 7 2013 at 14:09
Farmers in West Pokot and Trans Nzoia Counties are set to benefit from organic agricultural skills following the setting up of an organic agricultural training centre in Kapenguria.
The two counties have now become pioneers for organic farming skill development after Amiran Kenya, an agri-based company with the support from USAID launched the first ever training centre in Kenya.
Speaking during the launch, the CEO African Borehole Initiatives (ABI), one of the partners in the programme, Prince Immanuel Ben Yehuda said food security can only be realised if farmers were initiated to embrace integrated farming that also protected the soils from harmful chemicals.
He said Kenya would not be experiencing food insecurity in many parts if available land was put to intensive farming.
“What Kenyan communities need is not huge chunk of land but the right knowledge and experience to adopt natural practices of farming.
“Conventional farming where farmers depend on artificial fertilizer has proved to be harmful to the soil by increasing acidity levels thus lowering food production,” said Prince Yehuda.
He said yields per acre of most arable land have been decreasing by the year because the soils are being poisoned by application of fertilizer and other chemicals noting that natural farming allowed for soils to be rejuvenated.
The organic farming kit, which employs the use of drip-irrigation technology from Israel also comes with two green houses in a package known as Amiran farming kit.
According to Prince Yehuda, a one acre farm of integrated farming can fetch up to Sh600,000 per harvest making it more profitable than ordinary agriculture.
When West Pokot County governor Simeon Kachapin directed that fresh soil analysis is done for the Weiwei irrigation scheme after yields started dwindling, little did people realize that the effects of chemicals had started taking a toll on the soils.
He said the once-productive irrigation scheme had been affected by over-application of artificial fertilizer and call on farmers in the County to take advantage of the training centre to acquire skills that would boost food production.
“Our County has over the years been dependent on relief food yet there is great potential in agriculture. What we need to do now is to embrace technology that will improve yields. We already have the land and what is needed now is to exploit it sustainably,” he said.
A complete farming kit costs about Sh300, 000 and farmers can access it through groups and financial support from Equity Bank which has partnered with Amiran Kenya to finance the programme.