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stress free maizeFarmers in semi-arid areas will receive a new maize variety by September that takes about two and a half months to mature.

The maize variety โ€” Sungura 301 by Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (Kephis) โ€” is an early maturing crop that is more disease resistant and can withstand dry conditions.

Kephis is targeting semi-arid areas in the North and North Eastern regions in the country which receive insufficient rainfall.

According to Seed Co Limited sales manager in charge of Mt Kenya region Sam Kimani, farmers will earn more income besides having enough for consumption.

โ€œFarmers are now looking for high yielding crops due to the erratic weather conditions prevailing in most parts of the country,โ€ he said.

He was speaking during the 13th annual Agriculture Fieldโ€™s Day at Wambugu farm in Nyeri. Over 27, 000 farmers and 120 exhibitors attended the event.

The farmers were drawn from Nyeri, Nyandara, Murangโ€™a, Laikipia, Kirinyaga and Embu.

According to Mr Kimani the seed variety has solely been developed for farmers in semi-arid areas which will be available to them by the start of the planting season in October.

He said farmers in semi-arid areas buy the wrong varieties of maize which yielded less hence low income.

Lack of knowledge on what to plant, soil infertility, poor seed variety, erratic weather conditions are the main challenges facing farmers.

โ€œFarmers should be advised on what seed variety to plant for high yields every planting season,โ€
Seed Co Limited, a seeds company, have also partnered with Acre Africa to insure farmersโ€™ crops across the country in a Replanting Guarantee (RPG) scheme.

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Mr Kimani said they have only insured Duma 43, a maize variety common among farmers in the country for its adaptability to climate change. It takes three months to mature.

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