, KIAMBU, Kenya, Jan 26 – In a bid to shift farmers’ over-reliance on rain fed agriculture, the Kiambu County Government has started a field school to train them on greenhouse technology.
The agriculture-rich county has recently seen dwindling results in crop production following increasingly severe droughts associated with climate change.
According to the County Agriculture Minister Monica Waiganjo, farming contributes 17.4 percent of the county’s population income and there is an urgent need to address the problem by training farmers on alternative farming methods.
“Due to climate change and reduced rainfall, most of the dry areas are not conducive for crop production and so the county has recently been promoting draught resistant crops as well as greenhouses to maintain high yields,” she said.
“Farmers have mostly been trained on conservation agriculture that includes minimum soil disturbance and tillage, permanent crop cover and use of clean certified seeds,” she added.
Dr Waiganjo said that the greenhouses that cost Sh21 million had been distributed across the county for training to agriculture oriented groups.
She lamented the diminishing agricultural land sizes due to increased population and real estate establishments saying that it was piling pressure on the agricultural enterprises.
She said that the county was zoning agricultural and real estate areas and developing a soil and agro-ecological zone map for the county.
“Farmers have embraced the new technology as it helps them produce more on small pieces of land. A single eight metre by 18 metre greenhouse can generate revenue of Sh250,000 triple of what farmers in the open fields make,” she noted.
The minister said that through irrigation crop production and agribusiness markets as well as promotion of traditional high value crops (THVC) county residents in the dry areas like Thika, Ndeiya and Juja were opening up to grow sunflower, stevia and drought resistant crops like cow peas, sorghum and beans.