The AusQuest farms annual field day was held on 13th of July,2017 at Machakos County.
The event was attended by Agricultural professionals,Actors and Farmers.The day featured various crop walks discussing Mung Beans(green grams),Desi and Kabuli chickpeas(china),forage sorghum/sudan grass,Black grams,yellow Beans,finger millet and various biological trails of Mycorrhizae
Participants observed commercial trials with agronomic presentations done by the Agronomist Peter Schuurs from Australia(lives in Uganda)
The Guest speaker,Prof. Patrick Lumumba discussed practical challenges facing agriculture sector in Kenya from policy formulation to implementation.
He(Lumumba)made the following suggestions that there is need for;
- Personalized extension services to farmers.
- Institutions of higher learning to invest and focus on Technical Courses.
- Integration of Agriculture with research institutions like Cimmyt,Ilri &Icrisat
- Value Addition in Agriculture to attract youth
- Seminars and Agricultural field sesions
About the AusQuest Farm
The farm has a total acreage of 2000.The main crop enterprises are green and black grams which covers 1000 acres and chick pea covering 500 acres.Other trial crops were yellow beans,forage sorghum&Finger millet covering the rest of the area.
The land has been under Conservation Agriculture for the last 10 years according to Peter Schuurs.The main planting season is the MAM long rains.During the OND short rains season,the land is left farrow for soil fertility improvement and water retantion as the crop residues are left on the farm for decomposition.The Ausquest Farm applies Conservation Agriculture technology on these drought tolerant crops.The main CA principles practiced are minimum soil disturbance via ripping ,soil cover by planting cover crops(chick pea,yellow beans&mung beans)
This being large scale CA farming,use of Farm Machinery is evident.
Sorghum Mung beans Black gram
What they learnt from AusQuest!
- Agriculture needs to take a deliberate move towards innovation and integration of viable technologies to counter the changing environment;case of Conservation Agriculture for drought tolerant crops.
Written by; Benedict Nzyaka and Alexander Musyoka,Land &Water department