KALRO and KENAFF participated in a Farmer Field Day at Kamweti Agricultural Training Centre (ATC), Kirinyaga on 6 and 7 March 2020. This is an annual event that aims to create awareness and demonstrate new technologies to farmers to improve crops and livestock productivity.

The theme of the field day this year was ‘‘Technologies and innovations for agricultural transformation, improved food/nutrition security and livelihoods.’’ The event was organised by the Directorate of Agriculture, County Government of Kirinyaga.

Farmers at Brachiaria grass demonstration plots

KALRO demonstrated four Brachiaria grass varieties: Basilisk, MG-4, Piata and Xaraes. The visitors were briefed on InnovAfrica project, taken to the Brachiaria demonstration plots and provided information on the importance of the grass on livestock productivity and environment.

Posters on Brachiaria grass establishment and management practices were displayed. Haymaking technology using handmade hay box was also demonstrated.   

KALRO scientist introducing InnovAfrica project to students

KENAFF displayed banners with its activities and services offered to the member farmers including lobbying and advocacy. A KENAFF project officer explained the importance of belonging to farmers groups, which include joint bargaining for fair prices and marketing of farm produce.

KENAFF also promoted an energy-efficient stove that uses less firewood for cooking than conventional stoves.

KENAFF officer explaining the operation of the energy-saving stove

Other participants who demonstrated technologies were from the private sector, mainly seed companies, small farm implements manufacturers, farm inputs suppliers such as agro-vet dealers and financial institutions.

Out of 1720 attendants in the Field Day, about 860 people visited the InnovAfrica stand. The visitors consisted of individual farmers, farmer groups and students from Kirinyaga County and the neighbouring counties of Embu, Muranga and Nyeri.

Farmers who were interested in planting Brachiaria grass were encouraged to obtain rooted tillers (splits) from Kamweti ATC.