ADC warns grabbers to keep off its properties
Posted Sunday, August 19 2012 at 15:49
Encroachment on Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) land is posing challenges to efforts to improve food security.
Managing director William Kirwa said that Coast Province was the most affected, especially in Kisiwani.
He warned the public against settling on ADC farms in the guise that they were under-utilised, saying they played an important role in increasing food production.
“We need additional land to increase our contribution towards food production. We are even exploring possibilities of investing more in irrigation schemes in the arid and semi-arid regions,” said Mr Kirwa.
He said besides producing a half of the maize seeds required in the country annually, the corporation aims to produce 1,000 tonnes of potato seeds by next year, up from the current average of 250 tonnes.
“We produce about 12 million kilogrammes of maize seeds annually but, we are also scaling up production of potato, the country’s second staple crop after maize in a bid to mitigate against over reliance on maize,” said Mr Kirwa.
He said they were producing high quality potato seeds that can thrive well in various parts of the country and challenged farmers to embrace modern farming practices in order to improve yields.
“We have a tissue culture laboratory and a greenhouse in Molo which is entirely being utilised for production and multiplication of potato seeds for the benefit of our farmers,” he said.
The ADC managing director said with changing weather patterns that have affected crop production, farmers should embrace other fast maturing crops like millet, sorghum, cassava and a variety of vegetables to ensure there is food security.
“Experts are still finding a lasting solution to the strange maize disease that affected yields mainly in the South Rift. The solution lies in Kenyans thinking beyond maize,” he Mr Kirwa.
“The country is endowed with fertile soils that can sustain a variety of crops.”
He noted that land reclamation in the dry areas and tapping opportunities for irrigation is what will save Kenyans who solely depended on livestock production as they will have a chance to indulge in crop production.
However, he said ultimately, development of this country depended also in empowering the industrial sector to accommodate many youths who cannot engage in meaningful agricultural activities due to the diminishing land sizes as a result of increasing population.