Egerton University agriculture students train farmers in Njokerio
- By Daniel Kipchumba
Egerton University agriculture students on Monday 18th July held a farmers training session in neighboring Njokerio village.
The training that focused on horticulture was conducted by Concillia Orwa and Emily Jerop currently undertaking degrees in agricultural education and extension, and agribusiness management, respectively.
The two students interacted with a group of farmers dubbed ‘Young Rich Farmers’ comprising 25 members and that practices mixed farming. The group was trained on how to grow horticulture crops, such as carrots, cabbages and capsicum.
‘It’s is good for a farmer to use only certified seeds, and while growing capsicum, they should discourage early budding by nipping the buds on the plant early enough for maximum yields,” said Jerop an Isarel trained student expert.
The two also trained the farmers on the importance of soil sterilization and testing.
“Farmers must always test the soil quality, sterilize and inoculate before planting,” stated Orwa as the group shared on the challenges they face in their agri-business, among them, high costs of farm inputs.
“Maize farming is becoming more less profitable by day. For example, the price of inputs like fertilizer retails at Ksh 6,000 a bag, compared to a 90 kilograms bag of maize that fetches Ksh 2,000. A farmer has to sell around six bags to afford a bag of fertilizer,” Harun Waithanji, one of the group members stated.
A different member, Simon Karari, called for more of such farm training visits.
“We the neighbors of the University, should be the first to benefit from its hub of knowledge. They should create a long-lasting working relationship with us if we are to benefit,” he said.
While giving his vote of thanks, the group’s chairman, Joseph Mwangi, said that their greatest challenge is marketing of their produce.
“We can produce anything, as long as the market is assured. Right now, getting a market is a big challenge,” he said.
The training is part of a weekly radio programme ‘Kilimo Bora’ (Quality Agriculture) that airs on the university radio, Egerton Radio (101.7 FM / www.egerton.ac.ke/radio) every Saturday between 10 am and 12 pm and is sponsored by TAGDEV.