The National government has donated 47, 000 seedlings of cashew nuts and coconuts in Mpeketoni and 20, 000 seedlings in Witu area worth Sh.3.5 million.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS),Mwangi Kiunjuri said the move was aimed at improving Lamu’s growing agricultural sector as well as ensuring food security.
The seedlings donation which is targeted at at-least 1, 200 farmers is also aimed at improving farmers yields of the two cash crops over improved straits of coconut and cashew nuts that were distributed, which take a shorter time to grow while also producing higher yields of harvested crop.
It is expected that tonnage of cashew nuts will increase by 2,000 tonnes annually once the crop is harvested.
Speaking at Lake Kenyatta Cooperative Sacco in Mpeketoni area of Lamu County, Kiunjuri divulged that the government was donating 40, 000 cashew nut and 7, 000 coconut seedlings with the aim of improving agriculture in Lamu.
The CSn promised that 60, 000 additional seedlings will be brought later this month thus ensuring that each farmer has a total of 15 seedlings by the end of the seed distribution drive in Lamu.
Specialists will also be brought next year so that the propagation of seeds can be done in the county’s two acre nursery to reduce the transport costs and provide job opportunities to the people of Lamu County.
Mpeketoni and Witu areas were targeted for the seedlings distribution as they form the county’s bread basket for agricultural produce.
He further revealed that the national government will be providing pesticides at subsidized rates to ensure that all farmers have access to it.
Kiunjuri added that dam projects were under way in Mkunumbi and Koreni wards to ensure water security in the semi arid area.
The two dam projects will also benefit 200 farmers in the area.
Speaking at the function, Bahari Ward MCA, Anthony Njomo stated that despite a relatively thriving agricultural sector in Mpeketoni, the trade is plagued by brokers who distort market prices and give farmers a raw deal for their produce.
“Brokers are the reason why poverty remains high among most farmers in Mpeketoni, despite the crop’s abundance, yet there are no systems in place to ensure the farmers are paid a fair market rate,” Njomo said.
He added that this year’s cotton produce will be sold at Ksh.52 which is a little more than the previous year, hopefully next year it will be at least Sh.60.
By Karimi Kirimi/Amenya Ochieng