Embrace machines, farmers told
Farmers have been asked to embraced technology for better yields.
Chief engineer in the department of crops and agriculture research, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Mr Laban Kiplagat said mechanisation will also guarantee quality harvests that will in turn fetch good returns.
“Mechanisation of farming activities makes it easier to attain high and quality yields and this means more money for farmers and better livelihoods,” Kiplang’at said.
The Ministry of Agriculture is encouraging uptake of mechanised farming for both small and large scale farmers.
“We are aware that machines are expensive to acquire. To overcome that hurdle, farmers are encouraged to link up with financing institutions and too join cooperatives to enable them have financial powers to help them purchase some of the new machines to boost farming activities,” he said.
Kiplang’at was speaking during farmers’ field day held at the Rift Valley Institute of Technology (RVST), in Nakuru last week.
The event was organised by Farm Machinery Distributors (FMD), Equity Bank and The Standard PLC under the Farm Kenya initiative that seeks to promote agriculture.
Equity Bank Association director Samuel Ndung’u said food security is achievable if farmers adapt to new farming technologies.
He said one of major problem in farming has been inefficient farming practices like use of traditional farming methods.
“Farmers should either mechanise or use new technologies for example improved seeds that are resistant to drought, pets and diseases,” he said.
Though financial constraints has been a major issue in farming, he said Equity Bank shall provide flexible repayment schedule to farmers who apply for loans for farming.
“We are collaborating with framers by provide them with financial support. For example, we agree on when to pay because farming is a cycle and it can be unpredictable at times,” he said.
FMD general manager agriculture division Fergus Robley said the company is promoting small scale farmers by supplying machinery that can be used for farming on half an acre.
“We are supplying machines ranging from small scale, medium and large scale that fits all farmers,” said Robley.
FMD introduced for the first time a small tracked Massey Feguson combine harvester for rice and cereals that will help maximise yields whilst reducing losses.
Robley said farmers are also encouraged to practice minimum tillage commonly known as conservation agriculture for profitable farming.
Among the machines displayed during the event is potato tilling, planting and harvesting. With use of the machines, a farmer is also able to harvest about 80 to 110 kilogrammes per 1 acre unlike 6 to 8 tones in most farms. With the machine, a farmer is also able to work on 2 and half acre land in a day that makes work easier.
During the field day, FMD and Equity Bank signed a partnership agreement that will see customers get up to 80 per cent financing payable within 48 months on Massey Ferguson tractors and accompanying implements.