Maize farming in kenya became popular after it was introduced to Africa by Portuguese people. Since then, maize farming have become the most common farming in kenya after rice.
Maize is the staple food to the people in Kenya. It is planted in almost all parts in Kenya both in Highlands and lowlands. In semi-arid areas like marigat maize are planted and irrigated. It has many benefits ranging from economic value and nutritional value.
Maize is used in making maize flour used mainly for cooking ugali and nutritious porridge. Economically maize is sold to milling and processing industries providing those involved with lucrative income. Maize stalks from harvested cereals provide raw materials for making manure or even daily meals.
Economic potential of maize
The requirements of planting maize on 1 acre of land is approximated as follows;
- Seeds and fertilizers-6,000/=
- Weeding and top-dressing-2,000/=
- Labour for harvesting-2,000/=
- Pest control-1,000/=
Total cost @17500kshs approximately.
The production cost of maize varies according to the plant variety and mature differently also according to the variety.
One acre of land can produce approximately 35 to 40 sacks of maize depending on the variety and condition planted.
Market value for maize
35 sacks equals 101,500 which is 84,000kshs in profits.
Maize farming requires a suitable land. Ensure the land is ploughed and harrowed leaving no weeds on the farm.
For information on seed variety visit the agricultural offices on your area of planting for more information on seed type and fertilizer.
Planting of maize can be done by farm labourers on onset of rains but it is advisable to find a planter for the work.
Planting should be done on onset of rains, planters always find suitable spacing for seeds and plant maize on even lines. maize seeds germinate after one week. after the seeds mature to a suitable height, ensure you top dress with CAN and use insecticide to spread pests.
It is also important to ensure the farm does not develop weeds by regular weeding.
Maize is ready for harvesting when the stocks have turned brown and the maize are fully developed. Maize are cut and harvested by labourers where they can be dried under the sun and packaged in sacks ready for consumption or marketing.
Important farm practices tips
Weeding: This is getting rid of unwanted plants that grows alongside planted crops and compete with them for nutrients and water, they also harbour pest and diseases which might be harmful to plants and also reducing the yields.
Nutrition: nutrients helps plants in good growth and high yields there are various fertilizers types that can be added to plants, they include the basal,foliar through the macro and micro nutrient elements
Basal fertilizers; these are available in Argostores countrywide they include DAP,CAN,NPK and UREA.
Manure; these are nutrition added to soil to increase nutrients they include animal droppings and decomposed Waste from grass and plant waste.
sheep goats and cows waste can be dried to make manure then added to soil to add nutrition decomposed waste can also be added to the soil to provide maximum nutrition to plants.
manure is widely used and available in Kenya with cheap price.
Irrigation:this is a common practice by farmers especially in areas that receive minimum or no rainfall at all. It has proved to be an effective method in crop production especially in semi-arid areas like Perkerra irrigation scheme in Marigat area Kenya. High-yielding crops are produced in this area with irrigation practice.
Types of irrigation method include.
- Drip irrigation
- Canal irrigation
- Overhead irrigation
Mulching: this is a practice of adding materials like grass Waste or husks on nursery beds or on top of root seedlings covered by soil after planting.
Mulching helps to conserve moisture in the soil as it reduces evaporation of water from the soil, mulching helps to suppress weeds also. When mulching is done soil gets exposed to minimal sunlight hence discourages the growth of unwanted plants called weeds.
This practice is effective on nursery beds and newly transplanted crops.
Pruning: some plants develop Overgrown branches, buds and also yellow or withered leaves, it is important to pluck off these leaves and branches to make a clean plantation and also to reduce infection to other leaves which may occur with infected or withered leaves.