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James Nguo, ALIN Regional Director, rejoices after the announcement in San Juan, Puerto Rico by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Photo: © BMGF

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Traditional high value crops for better returns

Residents of kyuso have been advised to go back to growing of traditional high value crops for economic sustainability.

According to various research in agriculture conducted  in Ukambani, particularly in the larger Mwingi region, Traditional High Value Crops have been identified as the economic crops in the region. Research by KARI/FAO published under Corporate Document Repository (FOSA/WP/14) and through the assessment of the agricultural economic activities of Ukambani’s ASAL, the findings extended credence to the viability of Traditional High Value Crops.
 Traditional food crops such sorghum, millet, sweet potatoes, cassava, pigeon peas, cowpeas, green grams and dolichos have been pivotal in ensuring self-sufficiency in food despite being outside the bracket of other more recognized crops in the agricultural system.

These crops have been neglected for a long time with little support for their research and development. Other factor which have caused decline in production of these crops include ;low interest by Seed Companies to multiply the seeds due to low demand, low investment on research and extension to develop and promote superior varieties, emergence of pests and diseases, limited knowledge on utilization and agro-processing to add value and improve marketability.

The attitude towards these crops is changing rapidly with the realization that they have  enormous potential of ensuring food security to millions of Kenyans those living in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that are characterized by recurrent droughts, poor soils and general lack of resources for meaningful agricultural production. These crops have also been recognized as important in adapting to climatic change.
Hence the Ministry of Agriculture together with other sector ministries held a field day on Traditional High Value Crops production, post harvest handling and marketing to educate, and promote the crops.
The theme of the field day was “Promotion of Traditional High Value Crops for Economic Sustainability in Kyuso District”.

The emphasis of growing such crops as cassava, sorghum,millet amongst were reinstated during Maseki field day where the guest of honour was the deputy county commissioner Mr. Peter Maina but represented by his assistant Mr. Shaaban.