A Change to Crop Rotation Practice Helps Agnes Reap More from Maize Farming
Over the years, Agnes Khisa from Bungoma, Western Kenya, grew maize on her two- acre plot with the same yields. Then she listened to a Farmer Voice Radio program on crop rotation, broadcast on radio Idhaa (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Kiswahili service). “After the introduction of the program, I listened keenly since it was almost planting season”, said Agnes. The program gave her information on the importance of crop rotation and using certified seeds. “I have [traditionally] been planting maize and beans in the same hole,” she says “but the expert emphasized the need for planting [in] separate holes”.
Agnes decided that she would put into practice what she heard, as it came at the right time and season for planting. In the past, she had used the same number of bags on the same plot of land and had experienced low yields, despite adding fertilizer every season. “[This season], I decided to plant maize where I have been planting sweet potatoes and separated the rows for maize and beans”, she reports.
At the end of the season, Agnes harvested harvest twice as much as she had previously harvested on the same plot of land. Her maize farm even attracted the attention of her friends. Agnes reports that she also benefitted from FVR messages on post-harvest handling of maize. The content for the messages was provided by two other projects supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Purchase for Progress (P4P) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).These messages helped her to harvest at the right time and to avoid the usual loses associated with late harvesting of her maize.