The Star (Nairobi)

8 July 2014

Kenya: Wheat Production in Narok Drops

Wheat production in Narok County is expected to reduce by 40 per cent this season due to drought that set in during the crop's booting (flowering) stage.

County chief crops officer Christopher Nkunku said the production is expected to reduce this year especially in lower zones such as Nkorinkori area where farmers are expected to harvest nine bags per acre down from the expected 13 bags per acre.

He further said that farmers had planted 57,621 hectares of wheat this year but rains which were expected in April and May failed when the crop was just booting and therefore depressed the expected harvest.

Some farmers have however started harvesting the crop and planting for another season particularly in upper zones such as Mau.

Nkunku said the area under the crop is expected to increase during the coming season as more farmers are expected to plant the crop which will be harvested around November.

He added that over the years, wheat production in Narok county, which is one of the leading wheat producing counties in the country, has been reducing as farmers continue experiencing various challenges.

"Some of these challenges include unreliable rainfall which has resulted in drying of wheat, wheat rust and quelea birds' infestation and exploitation by middle men. Farmers in Narok county last year planted more than 69,000 hectares of wheat and harvested 1.9 million (90 kilogramme) bags which earned them more than Sh7.5 billion. This harvest is however lower than the previous year's where farmers harvested 2.5 million bags," he said.

Nkunku advised the farmers to plant better varieties of seeds which give them better yields, area disease resistance and favourable to the weather pattern.

He also appealed to the county government to intervene and assist farmers in marketing of their wheat to avoid exploitation by middlemen.

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