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Kenyan Farmers Shift to High Yield Hybrid Sunflowers

Traditional farmers in Kenya are now turning to Sunflower farming from the traditional crops like maize and tobacco.

The farmers say they are reaping more than what they used to earn a few yew ago.

It takes three months to harvest sunflower which in turn, gives the farmer a chance to grow the crop four times a year and also look for ready market.

David Lukui is out on his farm inspecting this seasons’ sunflower crop in Bungoma, western Kenya.

“I used to be a tobacco farmer. I abandoned tobacco and started growing hybrid sunflowers. I have planted one acre this season and I’m expect to harvest 15 bags. Each of the 15 bags will have 50 kilograms of seeds,” he says.

The crop has been suitable for farmers as it is drought resistant. This has made sunflower to have a constant yield compared to other crops in every season.

“If you process 50 kilos of hybrid sunflower seed you get 16 litres of oil. So the farmers here have decided to cultivate hybrid seeds, they have a better yield,” said Lukui.

Many farmers have formed groups which buy seeds in bulk and process them. Stephen Nyongesa is a member of Bidii farmers group. The profits made in a group are usually shared equally among members.

José Carlos Cortizo Pérez

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