KEmpowering the farmer with information is key to achieving food security. In most cases, farmers lack proper knowledge and the few who have the information do not know how to apply it. The Kibwezi farmers field day that was held at Kwakyai irrigation scheme on 23rd February 2019 ,served to disseminate information to farmers and train them on how to apply it.
The event organized by Africa farmers club (AFC), an online platform that brings farmers together across Africa was one of a kind as it was farmer oriented. Some of the service providers who turned up for the event included; CropNuts, Syngenta, Monsanto, Agrosolutions and GreenLife
In most cases, service providers have only one goal: to make sales and that is all that matters to them. How the farmer uses the product is none of their concern and hence the need to conduct such trainings. Farmers were sensitized on; crop protection, crop nutrition, soil fertility, seed quality and agribusiness. The training was divided into several sessions that’s the one on one visit interactions with the service providers at their stalls, the question and answer session, the panel discussion moderated by Mr. Noah Nasiali AFC Administrator and the actual visit to the farms under irrigation.
Communication is only effective when the message relayed by the sender is decoded and understood by the receiver. Therefore, the trainers employed language translation to break language barriers as it was a mixed congregation breaking through culture, age, ethnic group and gender. Mr. Moses Kivungi a soil doctor insisted on the need to conduct a soil test before planting. With the soil test done the farmers can know which fertilizers suit the farm and the type of crop suitable for that soil. Making informed choices increases the productivity of the crops.
“There is need to seek expert advice on the appropriate fertilizers to use in farms. A farmer should do a scouting in the farm to check for any irregularities on the crops. The signs and symptoms will guide the farmers on the fertilizers required” Stated Miss Faith from Zelena Company. The trainers also focused on how to apply Fertilizer in the right manner. That is from the roots. Planting seedlings was preferred to seed as it is both economical and time consuming. According to Miss Mercy one of the trainers, it is advisable to buy seedlings especially for the farmers who do not stay in the farm. Travelling to check on planted seeds before they germinate is tiresome and there is no guarantee of all the seeds germinating. Furthermore, the seeds experience root shock which affects the germination. Seedlings have a 99% survival chance unlike the seeds for they do not experience root shock.
After a long and informative session, the training could not end without a visit to the Kwakyai irrigation scheme where farmers have used gravity fed furrow to water their crops. Makueni being a dry region, the seasonal rains are unreliable. Indeed, the widened horizon of engagements and conversations created by the field day was worthwhile.
The video coverage of the event is available in our youtube channel AFRICA FARMERS TV.