More and more farmers in Kenya are expressing interest in cultivating sorghum and finger millet varieties. The sorghum hybrid GADAM x IS 8193 was a big crowd-puller at the county agricultural shows organized by ICRISAT in collaboration with the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and other stakeholders.

The shows are aimed at displaying new varieties of sorghum and finger millet available to the farming community, proper husbandry practices, new technologies developed and value addition potential and products developed through training of farmer groups on the same.

Two such shows were held in Busia and Kakamega counties on 16 July and 13 August respectively and attracted more than 2,000 farmers and 56 agricultural stakeholders’ including financial institutions and agro dealers.

Agriculture is one of the fully devolved functions under the new constitutional dispensation in Kenya and is currently led by the newly formed county governments in Kenya manned by a Governor.

Speaking at the event in Busia, the county Governor, Mr Sospeter Odeke Ojaamong, promised inclusion of traditional high-value crops (which include finger millet and sorghum) in the maiden program of accelerated input access for the county. He also acknowledged the support of KARI and ICRISAT in the agricultural sector in the county and pledged continued support for the organizations’ activities in the region.

The event in the Kakamega County highlighted non-traditional uses of sorghum and finger millet stovers to make charcoal briquettes using a briquetting machine. This was greatly appreciated as a means of environmental conservation by reducing dependence on trees for firewood.

On behalf of the Governor Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, the County Executive for Agriculture, advised farmers to diversify sources of agricultural income and detailed further possibilities in cultivation of finger millet, which currently fetches a good price. Mr Daniel Otwani represented ICRISAT.

At the field day held in Eshiakula village in Matungu sub county, the Matungu Rural Poverty Alleviation (MARPA), a community based organization, received a tarpaulin under the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) Project to improve their grain quality and get better prices for their grain.

The activities were undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals.

Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings