Not only is he the President and commander-in-chief of the defense forces, but he also stands out as a prominent farmer on his extensive farm in Uasin Gishu.

President William Ruto has disclosed that he harvests a minimum of 26 bags of maize per acre, although he considers this yield to be modest, it significantly exceeds the national average of 15 bags.

Dr Ruto has shared the secret to good yields and assured farmers that in the next crop cycle, the government will offer them support to achieve at least 20 bags an acre from the current average of eight bags.

The president said he uses at least more than one bag in an acre for him to achieve that much, unlike many farmers who plant with a single 50-kg bag for the same piece of land.

In a bid to revitalise the agricultural sector and ensure food security, Dr Ruto has announced a significant increase in fertiliser distribution to Kenyan farmers next year.

The president unveiled the government’s plan to raise fertiliser distribution from 4 million bags this year to 7 million bags in 2024.

This move comes in response to the rising demand for maize, one of Kenya’s staple crops, and the need to enhance productivity in the agricultural sector and cut on imports.

The availability of government-backed subsidy fertiliser this year saw a surge in maize cultivation, where an additional 200,000 acres were dedicated to this staple.

This year, the average maize production per acre has already seen a notable improvement, rising from 8 bags last year to 12 in the current season.

Looking ahead to next year, President Ruto has called for a change in farming practices. “Each farmer is encouraged to use 100 kg of fertiliser for planting maize and an additional 50 kg for top dressing, in order to achieve the desired production,” he said.

Currently, farmers are using 25 kilogramme of fertiliser in topdressing, which the president believes is low and wants them to increase to 50 kgs.

 He said that by using correct seed and applying an ample amount of fertiliser, Kenya can potentially double its maize production, ultimately contributing to the nation’s food security and economic growth.

The increased fertilizer distribution and the commitment of its farmers are expected to bolster maize production significantly, helping to meet the growing demand for the staple locally.

The President hinted that 2025 will be last year when Kenya will import maize from overseas.

“Next we may import some maize to fill gaps that may arise, but I want to assure you that that will be the last time when we shall be bringing in the produce to fill a deficit,” he said.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org