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MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE STATEMENT

TALKING NOTES

FOR

THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, ANIMAL INDUSTRY AND FISHERIES

MEDIA MESSAGE TO DISTRICT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

1ST FEBRUARY 2018

PRE-SEASON MESSAGE TO PREPARE FARMERS TO INCREASE AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND REDUCE POST HARVEST LOSSES FOR IMPROVED FOOD SECURITY AND HOUSEHOLD INCOMES

I take this opportunity on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries to pass on the pre-seasonal message for you to disseminate to farmers.  As you are aware, seasons have changed due to climate change. In this case, MAAIF and the District Local Governments must promote and support sustainable agricultural production and post-harvest technologies for improved food security and household incomes.

As we look forward to the first season, you are asked to urge the Extension workers to guide farmers on the following:-
    Early land preparation:
•    Prepare land quickly to be able to plant on time in order to get maximum benefit from the short rains.
•    Identify and link farmers who need to open up big acreage to tractors operators

    Selection and preparation of seeds and planting materials
•    Prepare or buy seeds and planting materials timely and for areas with short rains, farmers should use quick maturing or drought tolerant seed varieties

    Pest and Disease control
•    For areas which were affected by the Fall Army Worm, farmers should practice crop rotation for maize with other crops to break the pest/disease cycles.
•    Repeated planting of similar crops in the same fields leads to pest and disease population build up and outbreaks due to the constant availability of foods for the pests and diseases.  Rotation of the crops
is a good cultural practice that should be carried out by all farmers.

    Post – harvest losses
•    For Legumes, (beans/groundnuts) which have already been harvested, farmers are advised to dry them thoroughly and store in hermatic storage bags to prevent attack by weevils. This will ensure that households have adequate and good quality food.
The Ministry staff have been conducting supervision and monitoring in all the Districts and field reports indicate that some households have already sold off all the beans, yet the beans are the main source of protein.  Such households will not have seed and will experience food and nutrition insecurity.

Harvesting of maize and other cereals is ongoing, farmers are advised to harvest quickly and be able to prepare fields for the next crop. Where the crop is still green in the field, the Ministry condemns the habit of spraying crops with herbicides to quicken drying.  This renders the crop unsafe for human and animal consumption and also compromises the grain quality.

Farmers should be advised to properly dry maize on tarpaulins/raised platforms to maintain the quality of grain.  If the grain is stored when it is still wet, this leads to discoloration and reduced quality.    Wet grain is also attacked by molds which produce aflatoxins which make the grain unsafe for consumption by human and livestock.

MAAIF has trained District Extension Officers on a number of aspects;

•    On Post Harvest handling; the CAOs are requested to urge these officers to train Value Chain actors to enable proper handling the grains appropriately for improved quality and safety.

•    On Food Nutrition and Family Life Education so we also expect them to guide households should be guided on growing nutritious foods e.g leafy vegetables and fruits (oranges and citrus), pumpkins, yams and orange flesh sweet potatoes. Every household should have a variety of fruit trees for home consumption for nutrition security. Households should also keep micro livestock e.g goats, chicken, rabbits and fish farming.  The Ministry is ready to provide them fingerlings. We encourage households to keep diary animals for milk and manure to improve soil fertility for gardens.
My appeal is;
•    Households not to sell all the food but to preserve some for household food security.
•    Communities in drought prone areas, are encouraged to harvest water, de-silt dams in order to harvest enough water. Those in flood prone areas should open canals now before rains begin to avoid flooding.
•    LCI chairpersons and Parish chiefs are requested to sensitize and mobilize communities to enforce bye-laws on wild fires, proper utilization of wetland and to discourage cultivation on steep slopes.  But also to protect the water catchment areas for growing trees or plantation crops

    Operation Wealth creation Programme
•    The CAOs should provide to the Executive Director -NAADS their district’s priority enterprises and lists of beneficiary farmersfor the following commodities; tea, citrus, mangoes and cocoa. The NAADS Secretariat needs to know the quantities of seedlings for each of these enterprises.   The lists of farmers to establish plantation crops should reach the office of ED-NAADS by 16th February 2018. Lists for farmers to benefit from food crops like maize, beans and cassava are not required by the Secretariat.

•    The CAOs should make sure that extension workers prepare farmers who will benefit from the seedlings in order to increase survival rates of these planting materials.