New crops for semi-arid areas unveiled

Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) has launched new drought-resistant, high-yielding and nutrition-rich crop varieties and technologies meant to improve incomes in arid and semi-arid areas.

Kalro recently launched the crops that include green grams (ndengu) and beans. Kalro said the varieties were developed in a five-year Arid and Semi-Arid Lands Agricultural Productivity Research Project, (ASAL-APRP) supported by the European Union.

Ndengu Tosha, Biashara and Karembo, the three varieties unveiled during the launch, offer more than two tonnes per hectare compared to 1.5 tonnes produced by existing varieties.

On the other hand, bean seeds Angaza, Metameta, Faida and Nyota mature fast both in hot, dry lowlands and cold, dry highlands. Speaking at the event, EU Head of Macroeconomics and Governance Section, Vincent De Boer, said that the programme has made a significant contribution to the research and development needs of arid counties.

“The main objective of the project was to contribute to poverty reduction in ASALs through increasing the income levels of farmers and livestock keepers through development and utilisation of appropriate agricultural technologies,” he said.


More than 20 tonnes of range grass seeds were also produced by the project to boost adoption of pasture cultivation. The Principal Secretary in the State Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Andrew Tuimur, Director of Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Ms Lornah Odero also attended the launch.