Farmers in Tharaka Nithi have been asked to start planting drought tolerant crops to help in curbing hunger in the region.
Speaking to the press, in Chiakariga, International Crops Research Institute of the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) breeding scientist Dr Eric Manyasa said many farmers in Tharaka constituency were still growing maize despite the region experiencing very little rainfall.
He said if locals would plant sorghum, millet, green grams and groundnuts, every household would be able to earn a living from agriculture.
“If every farmer would stop wasting resources and grow drought resistant crops, we would not complain of hunger at all,” said Dr Manyasa adding that those who planted sorghum will harvest lot of produce compared to those who planted maize.
The scientist said farmers should also adopt technology in mitigating the effects of drought and enhancing food security in the region.
“We should all adopt technology and use fertilizers to increase the output on our farms but if we continue clinging on the old beliefs, hunger will not be a new thing in our land,” he said.
Mr Clement Kithaka, a farmer , said he expects to harvest 20 bags of sorghum from his one acre farm and 3 bags of maize from his other acre of land noting that use of fertilizer has enabled him get more produce compared to when he used compost manure.
“I have struggled with maize farming but when ICRISAT advised us on the drought tolerant crops, I decided to try sorghum and I cannot compare its yields to those of maize,” said Mr Kithaka.
The NGO has already helped 750 farmers in the region access high quality certified seeds and trained them on how to improve productivity and profitability of the crops in the harsh climatic conditions under the USAID Feed The Future Programme.