Sokopepe market leads farmer to give land for demo
By Bob Aston
Mr. Peter Maina Mwaniki, a farmer in Sipili Division, Laikipia County has been a user of Sokopepe which has been connecting him to various buyers. Through this he has been able to sell his Lima Beans to Mombasa and Nairobi.
Mr.Mwaniki now intends to increase production of both maize and Lima beans so that he can continue selling through Sokopepe and getting a good price for his produce.
Mr.Mwaniki has been farming since 1980 in a four (4) acre piece of land. He has planted several enterprise crops like maize, grain amaranth, Lima beans and Dolichos. He has a fruit orchard where he has grown oranges and lemon. He also practices poultry rearing and dairy farming.
Need to increase production prompted him to give a quarter of an acre to be used as a demo plot. ALIN has partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, MEA Ltd and Kenya Seed Company Ltd to set up the demo plots.
“I want to continue selling through Sokopepe. I want to increase my production so that I can get high returns. Learning best farming practices from the demo plot will enable me increase my yield,” said Mr. Mwaniki.
The Ministry of Agriculture collected soil samples from his farm which was then taken to Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). This they said would be used to provide an accurate assessment of the soil’s fertility status that can be used to make fertilizer recommendations. This will ensure that there is enough fertilizer application to meet the requirements of the cropswhile taking advantage of the nutrients already present in the soil.
Mr. Mwaniki has already been issued with four and a half kilos of certified hybrid seeds from Kenya Seed Company Ltd. The varieties that will be planted in the demo plot are; H520, H624, H629, H626, and H6210.
He has bought 25kg of NPK 17:17:17 fertilizer while MEA Ltd has issued him with Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN) for top dressing.
The soil analysis report which he received from KARI indicated that his soil organic matter should be improved as it was deficient in nitrogen, phosphorous and zink.
He was advised to use NPK 17:17:17, to apply 120kg/acre of composed fertilizer as well as to top dress with 50kg/acre of CAN.
Mr. Mwaniki has been investing more than Ksh 40,000 per year in his farm. Despite this he has been harvesting less than 10 bags per acre of maize. He expects to get more than 20 bags per acre after learning from the various trainings that will be conducted at the demo plot.
He has been using foliar feed instead of CAN. This year he is planning to start using CAN as well as NPK 17:17:17 instead of DAP.
“Most farmers in this area will be able to benefit from the demo plot as they will learn best farming practices. This will enable them practice Kilimo Biashara,” said Mr. Mwaniki.
Mr. Mwaniki has been using Sokopepe to get market tips and also query market prices.He has now decided to join Farm Record Management Information System – Kenya (FARMIS Kenya) which has been introduced by Sokopepe Ltd to help farmers keep their farm records.
“I want my farm records to be automated. It will now be easier for me to monitor my farming activities and determine which business line in my farm is breaking even and which ones are eating into my profit margins,” said Mr.Mwaniki.
FARMIS Kenya enables farmers to capture a farm’s profile and record all their farming enterprises capturing costs of tilling, inputs, labour, harvesting and post-harvest operations for crops and similar records for livestock. By doing that a farm’s total productivity is documented and farmers are able to extract a profit and loss statement at the end of each season.
Mr.Mwaniki can be contacted through 0725152750.