Agricultural boost as Nakuru County receives Mobile Grain Dryers to minimize post-harvest losses
Written by Mercy Kihugu and James Munyua
Nakuru County is set to receive 12 mobile grain dryers from the National Government that will be distributed to all the Sub-Counties. The dryers will be used to reduce moisture content in cereals such as maize, beans, and wheat among others before storage and will significantly help in reducing the post-harvest losses.
This was highlighted by Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Mithika Linturi who was joined by Nakuru County Deputy Governor David Kones, during the flag of the first batch of 5 dryers, coupled with a consignment of long-rains subsidized fertilizer, that has been dispatched from the National Cereal and Produce Board depot in Nakuru.
The Cabinet Secretary affirmed the government’s commitment to collaborate with the Nakuru county to boost agriculture production. This will be through offering subsidized fertilizer, dryers, and storage facilities to maximize production and reduce post-harvest losses.
Deputy Governor Kones on his part noted that the County has the potential to produce over 500,000 tons of maize if modern farming methods can be applied to increase production per unit area.
He added that the fertilizer subsidy program by the National Government has gone a long way in addressing the high cost of input, with the County working around the clock towards post-harvest management.
County Executive for Agriculture Leonard Bor appreciated the collaboration between the levels of governments that has led to success in the last-mile distribution of fertilizer to farmers.
He noted that it has led to Nakuru farmers emerging as the second largest beneficiaries under the program after Uasin Gishu County.
Bor called upon the registration of more community stores for continuous and easy distribution of the fertilizer which will be significant in reducing the cost of production.
The County Government of Nakuru has made some efforts towards Post-harvest Management through grain store surveillance at the farm and traders’ levels to check the grain stores and advise the farmers on proper handling and storage to prevent losses and mycotoxin contamination.
Additionally, through the Kenya Cereal Enhancement Program -Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihood window (KCEP CRAL) challenges in the maize value chain especially post-harvest management have been addressed in Njoro and Molo Subcounties where the project is implemented.
Post-harvest losses have been reduced from an initial 30 per cent to 12 per cent by capacity-building farmers on proper post-harvest management practices and equipping farmers groups with appropriate post-harvest equipment such as moisture meters, grain dryers, hermetic bags, and value-addition machines.
KCEP has also constructed three warehouses in Njoro and Molo Sub counties with a capacity of 10,000 bags (90kg maize bags) each.
Also present were Principal Secretary, of the State Department for Agriculture Dr Paul Ronoh, County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara, Chief Officer for Agriculture Newton Mwaura, and NCPB Managing Director Joseph Kimote among other county and national government officials.