John Ouma is among the numerous farmers in Bungoma County who specializes in maize farming. He however says that his average harvest from his 6-acre farm has been a mere 18 bags, against an expected average of 40 bags per acre!
An ardent listener of the local radio station like most farmers, he heard the announcement that an agribusiness expo had been organised in Bungoma town by a local agro inputs distributor, Bungoma Chemist. He attended the expo with two objectives: to learn why he has been harvesting so few bags of maize from his shamba; and to know how he could increase his productivity.
Bungoma Chemist is improving the livelihoods in the larger Bungoma County and its environs through improved provision of quality inputs and information on how best to use them in addition to encouraging farmers to diversify their farming.
The inputs distributor partnered with the Bungoma County Government and Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) to hold a first of its kind County level agribusiness expo in Bungoma to promote climate smart agriculture, soil testing and diversification of farming for improved agricultural productivity and profitability.
The exhibition provided an open platform where over 60 diverse exhibitors showcased products and services including soil testing, liming, seeds, agrochemicals, fertilizers, veterinary drugs, irrigation technologies, farm machineries, and financial services to 3,500 farmers.
The expo was also a great forum for exhibitors to increase awareness of their products, present new products and innovations, test their company’s competitive capability and strengthen their existing business network in Bungoma County under Bungoma Chemists Ltd.
On the side-lines of the exhibition, the partners in collaboration with kienyeji (local) poultry processers organized a business forum dubbed “Promoting production and marketing of kienyeji chicken”. Over 50 stakeholders drawn from the county government, poultry producers & processors, input suppliers and financial institutions participated in the forum whose objective was to discuss production and marketing of kienyeji chicken featuring market access, regulations and standards; production technologies; logistics and access to finance by value chain actors.
Speaking after the expo, Ouma said “I am happy that I came to this expo. I brought soil samples to be tested and I have to admit, I was shocked to find out that my soil is so acidic it is like I plant my maize in acid!”
So, the reason why John gets 18 bags from his 6-acre farm is majorly the acidic soil. He now knows he needs to lime his soils and where to buy lime to correct the acidity, or soil specific and crop specific fertilizers to help improve his yields. Thanks to the farming diversification information gained from the the expo, John has resolved to venture into Kienyeji chicken farming to supply the newly built Chicken abattoir and boost his income.