By Peter Kodworan, Senior Agricultural Officer
Owing to the food security risks occasioned by climate change, the County of West Pokot is promoting perennial fruit crops to widen the farmers’ sources of income as well as cushion them against potential crop losses.
The Department of Agriculture promotes among other crops, Tissue Culture Bananas (TCB), Avocado & Mangoes in mixed farming systems within the agro-pastoral and pastoral zones.
The inception of the agriculture radio programmes in the local language offered a perfect opportunity for the Department to promote the adoption of the TCB technology. A programme on banana establishment and management was aired on Kalya Radio and further reinforced by our extension staff in the targeted areas. The success in the last six months, is tremendous as outlined below.
The project had been on hold for some time but when we went on air, farmers asked for explanations about the difference between the old varieties they were already growing and TCB. After learning that the TCB had higher yields, a shorter maturity period and that the farmers could benefit from guaranteed clean planting material, many farmers made requests for laying holes and obtaining the plantlets. We can confidently say that a great portion of the 172 acres established with clean planting material in the County translate to anticipated higher yields and value for money.
The impact for the last six months has seen acreage expand to 172 acres under Tissue Culture Bananas! We at the Department of Agriculture can confidently say that most of this acreage resulted from farmer adoption of information provided through the radio. It is hoped that in the next one year, farmers will start to enjoy the first fruits of their labor.
After the programmes aired, we got a lot of people visiting our offices for more information and to buy TCB plantlets.