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NAIROBI - Kenya's researchers said Thursday they have launched a program aimed at improving the growing of nut crop, processing and marketing. 

Eliud Kireger, director general of Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), said the country's nut industry is performing poorly because most of the nut crops that were introduced in the country have aged, and are now producing low quality nuts. 

"We have started research on macadamia, groundnuts, coconut and cashew nuts to improve their quality to boost trade locally and internationally," Kireger told journalists in Nairobi. Kireger revealed that preliminary studies shows that the program is fast yielding good results and will avail high yielding quality nuts.

He said that the program has resulted into high yielding groundnuts which are preferred for roasting and another variety that is cream in color and produces quality peanut butter.

The official said that the current poor marketing strategy that has led to producers earning little money will come to an end since the government plans to open up local and international markets.

"This program is intended to educate farmers to abandon planting of poor yielding materials by adopting superior and pest resistant varieties," he added.

He said that KALRO researchers have been instructed to improve their interaction between them and farmers to lay ground for the technology transfer. The researcher said that KALRO has embarked on promoting new seed varieties through goggle's play store in its website where 30 online applications are placed.

"We are soon featuring additional 28 online applications mainly on horticultural crops to help boost agriculture in the country," he added.

Kireger said that KALRO researchers are looking for all avenues of availing modern and current information to farmers in rural areas beyond relying on extension services.

The official added that thousands of farmers have started downloading the online applications that is expected to double crop, poultry and livestock production. He told farmers to redouble their effort since the government is leading in finding markets for their produce.

Kireger observed that the nuts will be processed and value added locally before being sold to the local and international market. 

XINHUA