InnovAfrica’s project partner, the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation (KENAFF), distributed Brachiaria grass seeds to farmers in ten counties (Bomet, Bungoma, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Homabay, Kakamega, Kericho, Nakuru, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu, and Vihiga) at the tail end of the year 2020, targeting the ‘Short Rains’ season that occurs in between the month of October and December. However, the rainfall in 2020 ‘Short Rains’ season was below average, and many farmers were unable to grow Brachiaria grass.
In response, KENAFF provided Brachiaira grass seeds of four improved cultivars (Basilisk, MG4, Piata and Xaraes) to nurseries managed by KENAFF county leaders. These nurseries produced Brachiaria grass seedlings and seedlings were distributed to member farmers that included women and youth farmers. Seedlings are easy to establish, less invaded by weeds and grow faster than field sown with seeds.
The smallholder farmers in Kenya are facing multiple challenges such as drought, COVID-19 pandemic and the desert locust invasion which is now posing a serious threat to natural pasture and planted fodder production. KENAFF, through regular advisory services provides information to member farmers on harvesting and storing forages to avoid destruction by locusts and dry spells.
KENAFF plans to distribute Brachiaria grass seeds/seedlings in 20 more counties during the onset of ‘Long Rains’ season that is expected in March and April 2021.