Panoramix -Revolutionizing Growing of Cereals
November marks the end of the 2018 cereals’ growing season for maize and wheat crops. There was something different about this season though. This is a period where many farmers across Kenya adopted the use of a new and innovative seed dressing product -Panoramix. With the two crops being major staple foods in the country, many farmers grow them either for subsistence or as a commercial activity. Whichever the case, these farmers encounter a myriad of challenges ranging from pests and diseases to erratic weather, resulting in low productivity.
Agricultural experts and stakeholders alike continue to offer farmers solutions to these prevailing challenges. Koppert Biological Systems has not been left behind in this endeavour. In September 2017, the company launched Panoramix to the Kenyan market at a colourful event in Eldoret. The product is based on a consortium of beneficial microorganisms that protect seeds, promote root growth and strengthen the plant into a healthy crop through the entire growing season. Ultimately, this results in higher yields of better quality.
Since its entry into the market, a good number of farmers from diverse regions have used the product. These include Uasin Gishu, Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Nakuru, Narok, Kirinyaga, Meru and Kericho. Koppert’s field staff have kept track of some of these farmers to see how their crop was developing right from planting through to harvesting. The good news is that virtually all these farmers are reporting very positive results. We sampled a few of them, and this is what they had to say:
‘’Panoramix was a new product for me so I decided to give it a try in a portion of my farm. Through the growing season, the crop under Panoramix was always the best and I would admire it every time I visited the farm. This is despite planting it late into the season. The vigour was excellent with a well-established canopy which made me smile and be optimistic about getting better yields. Upon harvesting, I got an average of 32 bags per acre in the portion with Panoramix, in comparison to the portion without Panoramix from which I obtained 20 bags per acre.’’ - Peter Sang, a wheat farmer in Narok. Peter, who was initially sceptical, used Panoramix in 100 acres out of his 600-acre piece of land.
Nicholas Kibet first heard of Panoramix on radio and was very curious about the product. “Maize farmers in Soliat, Kericho have for a long time experienced poor yield. Most farmers get an average of 5 to 6 bags per acre. I was very curious and wanted to see if Panoramix could give me the results as I heard on radio. With every stage of the crop, my farm got a lot of attention and people would come from all over Soliat just to look at the maize. They wanted to know what I had done differently. I have never seen maize cobs as big as mine, the entire field has uniform growth and the roots are so strong.” Apart from farming, Nicholas owns Blessed Agrovet shop at Siriat Centre in Kericho county. He plans to stock Panoramix in the next planting season.
For the Koppert team, it has been rewarding to witness the positive results obtained by our farmers. This has confirmed to us that all the prior work to research on and develop the product has bourne good fruit. We believe that adoption and widespread use of this product, along other appropriate technologies, has the potential to positively impact on food security in Kenya and the region. This will of course not take place overnight. It will happen step by step as more farmers begin to experience the positive results. As a company, we cannot reach all these farmers on our own. We are keen to partner with like-minded stakeholders to take this message out there. As we do so, our biggest motivation remains the joy of seeing happy, profitable farmers.