Patrick Muriuki, the Managing Director of a community based organisation ICOSSED displays the Water Efficient Maize of Africa (WEMA) maize said to be superior by being drought tolerant and early maturing Photos by Irungu Mwangi/KNA

Superior brand of maize released to the farmers 

By IrunguMwangi

Maize farmers stand a better chance of boosting their maize production in future following the introduction of a superior brand that is early maturing.

The variety, Water Efficient Maize of Africa (WEMA), has been developed by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KARLO) in conjunction with CYMMIT Africa.

Already, a nongovernmental organisation based in Kirinyaga (ICOSSED), is educating the farmers through a demonstration farm at Kutus.

Patrick Muriuki, the director of the ICOSSED say results from the undertaking are indicative that the new maize variety  if adopted by farmers could increase production and food security.

Speaking at the demonstration farm, Muriuki said the variety is developed to cope with harsh climatic conditions and produce high yields even when the rainfall is not enough.

He said Africa Agri Biotechnology Foundation has supported the demonstration farm project and the putting up a centre of excellence for community training which is under construction at the two acre land at Kutus.

“Already we have six different varieties of maize in our demonstration farm which is meant for different altitudes in the country. We also have soya bean which is meant to boost nutritional values for the farmers,” he explained.

Muriuki said certified seeds of the new maize variety which only takes three months to mature will be ready for the release to the farmers in the next planting season.

The official said a field day scheduled for this coming Friday will be used to educate the farmers over the benefits of the new maize variety.

Other advantages include high yields with 30 90kilograms bags per an acre, drought tolerant, and capacity to resist some of the common diseases that affects the crop.

“The variety has a unique characteristic of closing up the entire maize cob which acts as a protective coat, preventing the unwanted water getting to the grains thus reducing the risk of decay,” he said.

Muriuki also said the variation has proved to be immune through research development to maize stalk borer which has been a menace to the farmers for many years resulting to low yields.

He said farmers from drought stricken areas like Ukambani and the Coastal region where rains is scarce would greatly benefit from the variety.

“The seed is also ideal in any part of Mt. Kenya region where maize is the staple food for the residents and it does not matter whether there are long rains or not,” he said.


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