Farmers in the North Rift region have a reason to smile following Tuesday’s launch of the mobile grain dryers.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Lituri presided over the launch of the dryers at the Eldoret National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot.
Speaking during the event, the CS said the dryers have been delivered as fulfilment of the pledge recently made by President William Ruto.
“As recently promised by H.E President William Ruto, I have this morning flagged off the first consignment of grain dryers that will be distributed in the larger Rift Valley region,” Linturi said.
“The 100 grain dryers will be distributed across the country,” he added.
Each of the dryers has a capacity to dry 14 tonnes of maize in two hours.
CS Linturi pointed out that with the dryers now available in the country’s food basket “they will drastically help our farmers to reduce post-harvest losses leading to increased farmers earnings and a more stable grain reserve for the country.”
“My Ministry is keen on empowering farmers to earn more revenues from agriculture through the use of modern technology,” he added.
Post-harvest management has been a major challenge in Kenya’s agricultural sector with an estimated loss of 20%-30% of harvested crops.
Open-field maize drying
The dryers have been availed at a time when farmers have been worried over the ongoing heavy rainfall occasioned by El Nino.
Most of the farmers in the region usually dry their maize in open fields, but it has been almost impossible with the rains.
However, according to Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii Chelilim, that is about to come to an end with the new facilities.
“These dryers have come at a time when we really need them. I am very sure that the issue of drying maize along the road and open fields will come to an end,” Bii said.
He assured that the dryers will be sent to areas that have the highest need.
In addition, the county boss advised farmers to ensure they dry not only maize destined for sale but also their own consumption.
“Aflatoxin is a challenge and it’s good that farmers know they have to dry all the maize, whether it’s for sale or consumption. All the maize should be dried properly,” Bii noted.