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ASDSP improving smallholder farmers’ earnings

Local smallholder farmers have registered improved earnings from their agricultural ventures following the introduction of Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) sponsored by the Swiss government in partnership with the County Government of Bomet in 2012.

ASDSP has been providing educational programs in value chain in respect to food security, innovations and linkages to markets mainly targeting the dairy sector, potato farmers and poultry sector.

The milestones were enumerated during Tuesday’s courtesy call by Swiss Government representatives Duncan Marigi and Jane Ndung’u as well as European Union Division representative Naomi Matheri on Bomet Governor Prof Hillary Barchok.

Prof Barchok said the program has lifted the status of dairy sector in terms of quality of the milk produced as well as the quantity that has seen an upward trajectory since the inception of the support program.

Barchok noted that before then, there was rampant exploitation of local farmers by unscrupulous middle men that had reduced farmers’ earnings rendering the agricultural sector non profitable.

He said potato prices have relatively stabilized owing to formation of cooperatives that have seen farmers get access to markets while doing away with exploitation through insincere weights during packaging of potatoes on farms.

Meanwhile, Governor Barchok has asked Sri Lankan-based Brown Investments to maintain the employees as they take over from James Finlay’s tea estates.

He said the new investors have held a meeting with the County Government leadership including the County Assembly of Bomet Speaker Cosmas Korir and Members of the Assembly to ensure smooth transition.

The Governor further said Brown Investments were required to accord local cooperatives 15 per cent of its shares to maintain status quo.

He also urged the new investors to take over the scholarship of needy students from the Finlay’s as well as continue other corporate social responsibility activities that could benefit the local residents.

By Kipng’eno Korir

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