By Regina Manyara
The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization has rolled out a hand book and an online wheat farming extension platform.
The hand book is geared towards helping farmers to access timely information on wheat production with the aim of helping them increase yields and earnings.
Kenya is a wheat-deficit country relying on imports to meet the growing demand for the country’s second staple food.
According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, in 2015 Kenya’s wheat imports hit Sh35.6 billion, representing a 5.3 per cent jump from 33.8 billion shillings in 2014.
Low yields have been attributed to among others adverse climatic shifts, disease strains and post harvest mismanagement due to inadequate, timely and relevant information to farmers.
The Kenya Wheat Production Hand book will provide information on high yielding wheat seed varieties that scientists have passed as disease and climate resilient.
Director of the Institute of food Crops and Research Dr. Joyce Malinga says this will enable farmers reap higher profits from their crop within a short planting season.
She further noted that if intended users conform to the simplified guidelines on wheat farming, farmers will realize increased yields of up to 7 tons of wheat per acre up from the current two tons per acre.
The hand book has already been developed as a mobile phone application dubbed ELIMIS to make it more accessible to the farmers.