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Ms. Otiende admires a maize cob in her farm
Ms Catherine Otiende never believed at any given day she would produce enough food from her ¾ acre farm to feed her family and by extension the extended family. The young mother of four children who hails from Dago village, Nyahera Location of Kisumu District had been planting the local maize varieties for many years with meager returns of less than 2 bags of maize from her farm thanks to the Striga weed popularly known as uyongo in the local dialect.
Catherine got information from Mr. William Bodo about some improved maize varieties which could kill the Striga weed and hence increase maize production to a great extent. She received this information with a lot of enthusiasm and decided to give it a trial. Catherine did not have any problem convincing her husband on adoption of this new technology. She decided to try it during the 2011 short rain season and as she says she will never regret her decision. She prepared her land early enough and bought 5 kg of IR OPV 303 seed variety. She got a double blessing when the short rains became more than expected.
Her maize field stands out in the area and it has become a learning centre for many farmers who are raring to try the technology come next long rains season. A quick glimpse into the neighboring farms paints a total contrast. The farm has so far hosted a very successful farmer field day to demonstrate the technology to other farmers who are very enthusiastic to try the technology.
Catherine's brother in law's maize farm - a total contrast
Catherine expects to harvest up to eight bags of maize from the same farm and this she says will be enough for her small family as well as for her extended family. In addition Catherine has intercropped her maize with ground nuts which is fetching her some good income to supplement her household budget. She has also planted several banana stools which she proudly says will go a long way in ensuring her food security as well as being a source of household income.
An intercrop of maize with groundnuts in a small section of Catherine's farm
Catherine looks forward to the day all farmers in the area will adopt the new maize production technology and kick hunger and poverty out of Nyanza region. On this Catherine has already recruited her brother in law who has vowed to test the technology come next planting season.
JM Ndwiga, AATF