By Evelyn Situma
Robert Matete — a farmer from Kakamega county, Kenya — glances at his maize field, and as if submerged in deep thought, straightens up his face and makes a wish amidst our conversation.
“I wish my children can grow up to be as productive as TEGO® maize. We sowed only one seed per hole but look, we now have hundreds of plants each with many kernels compared.”
Like the rest of the farmers in Kakamega – Kenya, Robert was a sugarcane farmer for 20 years. But after several years of making losses he quit in favour of maize farming in 2010.
“When we realised sugarcane was not working, we decided to get a new crop variety with high yields and good returns,” he explained.
A local non-profit organization called Rural Outreach Programme (ROP) advised the 62-year old father of nine to plant maize and soya.
However, after two years of growing maize, the yields were still low. Their luck changed when he agreed to host TEGO® demos over the 2014 long rain season. That season, his harvest rose to 1.08 tons from 180 kilogrammes from 0.13 ha land. The following year his yield once again grew to 1.98 tons after he increased his farm size to 0.4 ha.
“I sold 19 bags at Ksh 3, 200 (USD320) per bag and used the earnings to settle school fees arrears for three of my children in high school – Mukumu Boys, Lunza High School and Bukolwe High School,” said Robert.
Robert is happy and has made up his mind to only grow TEGO®. “TEGO maize seed is the best. It’s like a shield that is able to solve my financial problems,” he concludes.