In Summary
  • Mango, melon, cassava, cashew nut, coconut and citrus do well in the region.
  • The rains at the Coast are unpredictable, thus, there is need for farmers to embrace maize varieties that are suited for the region for them to achieve higher yields.
  • To plant the cassava, have cuttings of between three and six inches. Weeding is done thrice and the cassava matures from six to eight months.
  • Watermelons were another produce on display, which do well at the Coast. At the East African Seed demonstration farm, farmers were advised to go for the Sukari F1 and Kazuri F1.

Some came walking, others drove while the dignitaries arrived in copters at the Mombasa agricultural show which closed its doors last week.

But despite arriving in different styles, the show-goers had one mission, which was to pick as many lessons as possible from the agricultural event.

Seeds of Gold was at the show for the entire five days, starting from August 5 and one of the things that stood out was the various crop varieties on display to be grown specifically at the Coast.

At the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organisation (Kalro) demonstration farm, the lush green maize crops of the WE1101 variety were an attraction.

Developed by Kalro researchers, under the aegis of Water Efficient Maize for Africa project (WEMA) project, the maize named Drought Tego is drought-resistant thus highly suited for the Coast region, which has a warm weather.

The variety takes four to five months to mature unlike others which take six months.

Kalro researcher Finyange Pole said Drought Tego could be a solution to food insecurity at the Coast if farmers adopt it.

“The rains at the Coast are unpredictable, thus, there is need for farmers to embrace maize varieties that are suited for the region for them to achieve higher yields,” said Pole at the Mkomani grounds show, adding the variety yields an average of 32 bags per acre. It is ideal for Kilifi and Kwale counties.

Apart from Drought Tego, another maize variety at the demonstration farm suitable for the region was the CKH08069 (Shukran-16), which is also drought-tolerant.

The variety can produce up to 30 bags per acre and is also ideal for regions like Kilifi and Kwale.

Also on display were Tosheka (MH401) from East African Seed Co. which yields up to 55 bags per hectare.

MATURES IN EIGHT MONTHS

When planting the maize seeds, farmers are advised to use phosphate fertiliser. And when the plants reach knee-high, they should top dress with CAN fertiliser and Buldock for getting rid of pests, which destroy the maize plant stalks.

The maize plants must be weeded at least twice.

Away from maize, farmers at the Coast can also grow the cassava variety known as Tajirika, which matures in eight months and can yield up to 24 tonnes per acre.

To plant the cassava, have cuttings of between three and six inches. Weeding is done thrice and the cassava matures from six to eight months.

Tajirika is also good for value addition, making cakes, crisps, chips, ugali and chapati.

New varieties of mangoes, cashew nuts and citrus, crops that do well at the Coast, were also on display.

Farmers can grow four varieties of grafted cashewnuts namely A100, A81, A82 and A8.

A grafted cashew nut tree takes one-and-a-half years to produce compared to five the local varieties being grown at the Coast currently take.

Grafted mango varieties, on the other hand, take two-and-a-half years to produce unlike five to six years when planted from a seed.

Ngoe and apple varieties are highly recommended for the region as well as the local variety known as kitovu, which, however, is low-yielding.

Through grafting, an orange tree produces at two-and-a-half years compared to five to six years when planted from a seed.

Washington and Valencia varieties are ideal for the Coast. The above crops do well in all the six coastal counties.

For coconut farmers, one can choose between the Improved dwarf and East Africa tall varieties.

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