Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(ERGO) – Farmers in Lower Shabelle are reaping the benefits of new and improved aize and bean seeds that yield more crops in less time.

Hosni Abdirahman, head of the NGO Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG), said they had successfully introduced improved local maize seeds and imported varieties of beans to Afgoye and Awdeghle.

“We have four types of beans, which have been improved to be suitable to grow in our soil and cope with temperatures. We have also fertilised the maize so that it grows healthy much more quickly, he said.

Each hectare requires 200 kg of phosphorus and 150 kg of urea to grow these new seeds well, to compensate for missing nutrients in the local soil.

Maryan Abikar Ali, who farms on two hectares in Awdhegle, told Radio Ergo she had a much improved harvest from the new seeds.  Her farm produced 45 sacks of maize in February, as compared to a maximum of seven sacks before.

Mohamed Abubakar Yusuf told Radio Ergo he was pleased with the success of the beans.  “We now harvest the beans in 45 days from day one, whereas previously we used to wait for 90 days to harvest,” he said.  He said he had felt the benefits of the new seeds despite the drought that led to the river drying up two months back.

SATG provides training to farmers on the best way to plant and manage the seeds to maximize their production.

One kilo of the treated seeds costs $10. More than 2,500 farmers have received the SATG training this year.  The seeds were first introduced in 2014 with an initial group of 37 farmers