Field days or fairs have become popular in Kenya with thousands of farmers always seeking to learn improved or new crop production technologies that would increase their yields and help their crops perform better. The field days also give the farmers a chance to discuss openly with the service providers on the solutions offered to them and give feedback and experience on their products and services. It is no wonder Mr. Jacktone Odundo Owino, 45, a member of Kamide Self Help Group talks highly of the importance of field days to farmers. He used to think field days are a waste of time until one time he happened to visit one of the project supported field day at the homestead of Marsel Olela a KAVES lead farmer from Uriri Sub county to know the techniques he was using to cope with Striga. He met CGA agronomist, Mr. Dancun Oalo who led him and his group members to register as KAVES, CGA supported programme beneficiaries. Upon registration, the group was undertaken through the routine capacity building modules including: Good agronomic practices (GAP), PHH (Post harvest handling) and Entrepreneurship, in addition to input linkages for acquisition of certified seeds and pesticides.
Unfortunately, despite considerable investments on inputs and crop management one of his plots, Mr. Odundo still experienced 100 percent crop loss in his farm. Mr Odundo needed immediate interventions on how to cope with striga infested soil.
CGA through the support of the USAID-KAVES project organised for an input linkage for the group with Freshco Company Limited for acquisition of certified seeds. Mr. Odundo and Twenty (20) other farmers from the group purchased 48 kgs of striga tolerant maize variety (FRC 425 IR). Mr. Odundo also employed other interventions required to have good yields and now he sings a happy tune now that his farm will yield a good crop this season.
“My farm looks so good now and I am thankful to CGA and USAID KAVES for the linkages and exposure to information. I would like to encourage farmers not to take field days for granted because I believe there is always something new to learn to improve your shamba,” said Mr. Odundo.