Barley farmers in Mau Narok have a reason to smile following high yields from the new variety, Aliciana Barley, which was introduced by the East African Breweries Limited (EABL).
According to David Kilesi, Chairman of the Barley Growers Association of Kenya, the Aliciana Barley variety produced high yields and greater water logging resistance compared to previous varieties.
“We have seen higher yields this season with the Aliciana variety compared to the previous varieties we had been planting,” said Mr.Kilesi.
The chair thanked ‘EABL for introducing this (Aliciana) variety’ and commercializing it to farmers.
Barley being the main raw material for KBL’s beers, the company continues to invest heavily in research, offering production solutions to barley growers through its subsidiary East African Malting (EAML).
General Manager EAML Lawrence Maina, who was addressing stakeholders during field event in Narok County, reiterated EABL’s commitment to invest and provide varieties that are beneficial to farmers in terms of improving yields and increasing their income.
“We are very happy that farmers in Narok have embraced the Aliciana variety following our launch last year. It would not have been possible for us to commercialize the variety today if it wasn’t for the success you have experienced,” said Mr. Maina.
EABL also launched the 8th edition of the Barley Growing Handbook as part of farmer capability building during the Field Day.
The Handbook summarizes the current recommendations on the barley varieties to be cultivated by farmers, seed rates, fertilizer usage, recommended insecticides, fungicides, herbicides to be used on barley and seed dressers, based on research data generated by the EAML research department.
Maina also emphasized the company’s commitment to not only offering a ready market, but creating lasting relationships with all the EABL farmers and support them to enhance both yield and quality.
“EABL has continued to create value chains that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable,” he said,
The manager added that, “this handbook will be instrumental in guiding our farmers on the approach and inputs that will help them deliver a great crop”
This year, the event brought together hundreds of farmers and key partners including Syngenta East Africa ltd, Bayer, BASF, OCP, Mascon and CMC. In addition, EAML’s research partners such as University of Eldoret, who were instrumental in developing the handbook, were present.
The farmers were treated to a demonstration on crop rotation, special fertilizer blends and showcase of barley varieties.
In addition to launching the handbook, EABL reaffirmed its commitment to environmental conservation by donating a KSH 1.5 million to the Purko Trust to go towards afforestation of 1000 acres in the Mau region with the aim of planting 100, 000 tree seedlings next year.
EABL sources 50,000MT of barley from close to 1000 farmers in five counties of Narok, Nakuru, Usain Gishu and Meru, per year.