Team dispatched to investigate yellowing of maize

By Paul Koros

The Ministry of Agriculture has dispatched a team of crop protection and fertilizer experts to investigate the cause of the yellowing of maize in Uasin Gishu County and advise accordingly.

This follows complaint from farmers in Uasin Gishu County of yellowing of maize that they had attributed to the subsidized NPK fertilizer bought at the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Dr. Richard Lesiyampe assured farmers that the subsidized fertilizer is up to the standard and there is no cause of worry.

National Cereals and Produce Board offered farmers in Uasin Gishu County 320,000 bags of the subsidized fertilizer this year.

In a statement, Agriculture Principal Secretary Dr. Richard Lesiyampe says: “All the fertilizer that gets into the country is inspected for quality and standards in the country of origin. It is also thoroughly tested at our port before discharge.”

He says routine testing is also done in the counties by officials from the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate-KEPHIS to ensure conformity.

Dr. Lesiyampe says: “In the case of the fertilizer in question, all this was done and all the consignments complied with the Kenya Standard and were thus accepted for distribution.”

He says yellowing of maize is normal for farmers who use the NPK because the slow-release fertilizer’s nutrients are available to the crop after 20 days hence yellowing 3 weeks after germination is usual.

The PS further attributes the situation to too much rain at the time, which led to leaching of nitrogen nutrients and poor root formation hence yellowing and stunting of the maize.

An assessment has been carried out on 100,000 hectares of land under maize in among others Soy, Ziwa ward and Kapsang areas of Uasin Gishu County that found that less than 1 per cent of the crop had yellowed.

The assessment was done by crop protection and fertilizer experts.