Maize Extension Manual

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Karanja J. K
J. W. Mwathi
P. A. Ooro
A. O. Esilaba
D. Nyongesa
M. Okoti
C. Githunguri
J. Miriti
M. Otipa
E. Nassiuma
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Maize is a staple food in Kenya, accounting for an average production of 4.4 million tons for the period 2010 to 2013 (FAO, 2015). It contributes to about 65% of daily per capita cereal consumption and serves as subsistence and a commercial crop grown on an estimated 1.4 million hectares. Maize production accounts for more than 20% of the total agricultural production and 25% of agricultural employment in the country. It is an important source of carbohydrate, protein, iron, vitamin B, and minerals. Maize products include baked, roasted and boiled fresh maize on the cob, porridge, pastes, beer, starch, oil and livestock feed from by-products of fresh and dry maize grain. This manual outlines important maize-crop agronomy and provides information on the methodology and technology that farmers may be able to utilise to grow maize in Kenya sustainably and commercially. Climate change, increased human activities, pathogen and vector evolution have increased the spread of invasive pests and diseases in maize farming systems in Kenya. The country has faced severe disease and pest outbreaks that impact on the country’s food security. Huge losses sometimes of 100% have been reported due to Maize lethal necrosis disease and fall armyworm. The use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) provides maize farmers with management options to reduce pesticides use in the management of pest and diseases. Precise and prompt pest and disease detection are vital for their prevention and management. After harvesting their crop, farmers in Kenya face challenges of poor grain handling and management, leading to 30% of post-harvest losses, translating to more than US$ 4 billion losses per annum. They also market their grain at low price at harvest time forcing households to buy grains for family consumption when prices increase. The above notwithstanding, post-harvest losses lead to insufficient food supply even when maize in Kenya is utilized mainly for human consumption
Esilaba, al. (2021). KCEP-CRAL Maize Extension Manual. Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya