Read full article By Kelvin Ogega@ The Standard Photo Credit: Sammy Omingo, STandard
Food and nutrition insecurity in Kenya has deteriorated with the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance rising from 2.1 million in August 2021 to 2.8 million.
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) says the situation is as a result of the below-average October to December short rains. Some 29 counties in Arid and Semi-Arid land (Asal) regions need urgent food aid.
With the looming problem of famine and malnutrition, a number of organisations have rallied together to salvage the situation.
International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), that conducts agricultural research, has advised farmers to focus on growing legumes which do well in the dry lands.
According to ICRISAT, some of the legumes that can thrive in asals are beans, chickpeas, cowpea, sorghum, millet, green grams among others are crops that do well in dry regions.
Lina Judy a millet farmer in Kitui county shares insights on how to grow millet as a source of food.
Planting should be done before or during the onset of rains to ensure that the crop uses the available moisture to the maximum during the growing period.
“Plant your seeds at a depth of 2.5cm to 4cm when soil is moist and 5cm when soil is dry,” says Judy.
Spacing depends on millet variety. For instance, 60cm by 15cm for pearl and finger millet. Seed rate will also depend on the millet variety planted. You can do 3kg per hectare for finger millet and 5kg per hectare for pearl.