Western Kenya farmers have been called upon to turn to organic fertilizers to cushion soil fertility and increase yields

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by Dennis Avokoywa.

Western Kenya farmers have been called upon to turn to organic fertilisers to cushion soil fertility and increase yields

Nancy Onyango, an extension officer of PlantVillage non-governmental organisation, attributes decrease in farm produce to pests and diseases, over use of inorganic fertilisers and perennial repetition of one crop on the same piece of land.

 Wanyama uses wood ash to repel insects, slugs and snails because it draws water from invertebrates

Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega are some of the key Western counties reputed for cassava, groundnuts and cereals whose produce has tremendously flopped due to planting same crop every season.

"We don't condemn inorganic fertilisers but looking at their long-term effects we encourage farmers to embrace organic fertilisers (manure) to reduce the rising PH level on their farms," Mrs. Onyango advised.

She asked farmers from this region to utilise crop and animal wastes from their farms in creating their own manure which would subsequently cut on fertiliser expenditure.

"They may seem to be wastes but in actual sense these plant and animal waste material are the main ingredient of organic fertilisers," Onyango noted.

Inter-cropping helps in preventing pests and diseases to spread throughout the field.

As for pests and diseases, Onyango advised farmers to adopt rotational farming systems on their weary farms.

"This is a simple farming system that allows a farmer to grow different type of crops on the same piece of land in successive seasons," she explained adding that rotational farming reduces on the risks of soil erosion and infertility.

Hellen Wanyama is one of the farmers who embraced rotational farming after battling pests and disease challenge.

"I have been a victim of crop pests and diseases that had reduced my produce from 8 bags to 3 bags per season, I am now back to my feet," Wanyama testified amid smile.

As witnessed by this writer, Wanyama has subdivided her farm into eight portions where she plants different crops on each piece every season.

"This method has really worked for me; it has helped me curb various diseases and notorious weeds."

"I can now produce various varieties of crops every season which really pay," Wanyama posed.

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