Maize famers in the country have been losing millions of bags due to poor post-harvest practices, renowned Mount Kenya University researcher Donatus Njoroge has said.
Njoroge said that small-scale farmers in the country have little or no knowledge of how to properly store and preserve their maize as well as other agricultural products after harvesting them saying that this is the reason why most grains end up being destroyed by pests like weevils and fungi like aflatoxins especially in maize.
He said that with proper training, farmers in the country will be able to fill the maize deficit that the country has and that there will be no need for importation.
“Currently the country requires about 50 million bags of maize while we only manage to produce 40 million bags. If we empower small scale farmers boost their production by training them on better farming practices including post-harvest training then we can have enough maize to satisfy the country,” he said.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri last week said that the ministry will import 19 million bags of maize to plug its deficit.
The MKU don challenged the Government to increase the Agriculture Ministry’s budget to enable it reach out to all farmers in the country and assist them better their farming for improved yields.
“Agriculture contributes 34 percent of the country’s GDP. It therefore requires more funds to improve farmers’ productivity and ensure we are a food secured country,” he said.
In April, Njoroge won a global recognition for developing a novel bio-pesticide to manage post-harvest losses in grains.
He scooped the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (Gist Tech-1) 2019 Award, beating 23 other finalists during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress held in Bahrain.
Last week, he was named the overall winner for biologically based pest control technologies during the first International conference on Agro-ecology Transforming Agriculture and Food systems in Africa held at Safari park hotel in Nairobi.
The conference was organized by world food preservation center, IFOAM Organics International, Biovision Africa Trust and other partners.
Njoroge was competing against seventeen (17) other finalists drawn from different countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Cameroon, Benin, India, Italy, Japan and Turkey,
The theme of the conference was “Reducing synthetic Fertilizers and pesticides by Scaling Up Agroecology and Promoting Ecological organic trade”.
His quest for using innovation to catalyze social economic change has seen him appointed by PS, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Co-operatives Dr Chris Kiptoo as part of a hackathon teams contributing to policy formulation for SME’S.