By now you must have heard about maize scandals in Kenya. The government has in the past years zero-rated maize importation to try and ensure Kenyans have their common and affordable meal of “unga” on their tables. This is so because maize is a staple food in Kenya. Maize is one of the most planted crop, both for cash and subsistence purposes. Maize is known to grow in almost all areas in Kenya, with different varieties customized for different zones depending on climate and weather. The aim however is to ensure there is a variety that is resistant to harsh weather conditions and maximize on the yields. Here is our guide to help you maximize your yields.
Maize Farming In Kenya: Business plan
Maize farming in Kenya is done by both large scale and small-scale farmers. While those who do it for subsistence purposes may not require business plans, those who do it for commercial purposes may require business plans to guide them on how to succeed in farming. In recent times, maize production has faced many challenges. Pests and diseases over time now has destroyed the crop completely, leading farmers into making losses. The government has tried to save this situation over time but they have failed terribly as the crop faces one problem after another. However, this only means that the crop is always in demand no matter what and farmers should not give up on it.
For you to be a maize farmer in Kenya you must be smart. You should be a farmer who understands well the need of having a well-structured plan with details of required labor, inputs, disease controls as well as harvesting costs. The only way to tell if maize farming revenues are profitable is by having a record to look back to and compare data. What may appear to be a minimal yield could still be profitable according to the amount of investment made. However, sometimes when you think you have bumper harvest, it might not necessarily be profitable as the input made might exceed it. The only way for this kind of unpredictable business is working with a business plan.
Maize farming in Kenya: Techniques
In many countries, maize farming has evolved making it a golden venture. Maize is the third most grown crop in the world after wheat and rice. The business plan you would come up with should offer an industry overview and point you in the direction that you ought to go considering the fact that maize is grown for different purposes. You will also have an analysis of potential gains and losses to prepare you for expected risks.
If a farmer knows what he/she wants and looking forward to, chances are that he or she will put in the very best. Your business plan will also cover the market analysis which means that you avoid the frustrations of not knowing where to sell your produce when it is ready. When you know your target market before you even begin cultivating, chances are that your focus on excellent production will intensify since your market is guaranteed.
Maize farming in Kenya: How to plant maize
Maize farmers are always on the lookout for best ways to improve their production and yields. The following simple guidelines will help you get good results;
- Proper land preparation. Land must be well tilled. Remove grass and weeds as they hinder production of maize
- Timely planting at the onset of rains. Yields are negatively affected by late planting
- Choose appropriate hybrids depending on the altitude of your area
- Consider appropriate plant population and spacing. Go with 90 by 30 cm, or 90 by 55 cm for low plant population and 75 by 25 cm, or 75 by 50 cm for high plant population.
- Liaise with extension officers in your area for a guide on appropriate fertilizer application
- Weed early to enhance flowering
- Protect against pests like stalk borer
- Harvest and store appropriately when mature
Maize is one of the most common crop grown in Kenya that people think it just grow. It is actually possible to get more from maize if proper management is undertaken.