Baringo county government has embarked on a Sh13 million horticulture crop development programme to support local farmers on value addition.
Governor Stanley Kiptis in a progress report issued to the media on Wednesday said that the programme which seeks to support area farmers access macadamia, avocadoes, mangoes, paw paws, passion fruits seedlings is geared towards ensuring that the vast county is food secure.
“This financial year of 2020/2021 we have injected Sh13 million on the fruit programme because it is a step towards achieving food security in our county,” he said.
Kiptis stated that his administration has supplied 10,141 seedlings of mangoes which have been distributed across the six sub counties in order to increase the acreage from the current 1,333 acres to 1,687 acres.
He revealed that some 2,778 seedlings of grafted macadamia were supplied to Tenges ward and another 1,000 passion fruits as well as paw paws was each supplied to the remaining targeted wards.
The county boss added that his administration has also partnered with the national government to supply certified Avocado seedlings under the Big Four agenda where local farmers from the region have benefited from 20,000 seedlings of Hass variety that were equally disbursed to all the sub counties.
He noted that the county partnered and signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Slovakian Embassy and the Kenya Chambers of Commerce to supply 50,000 grafted macadamia in two phases where in the first year a total of 20,000 seedlings has been received by the farmers while the remaining will be supplied next year.
On coffee development, Governor Kiptis stated that by the end of last year the area under coffee had increased to over 2,500 hectares(ha) up from 896 ha in 2013 with the county government supplying more than 30,000 seedlings worth Sh3 million.
He said that the production of the cash crop was significant now that the county prides itself of gearing to have a coffee milling factory in Baringo North which they partnered with the World Best Friends of Korea.
The Governor stated that construction of the milling machine is already complete and a successful testing carried out adding official commissioning will be done in May this year so that the farmers can reap maximum benefits from their produce.
He urged farmers to up coffee production so as to realize projected average of 12kgs per tree and in turn increase the county’s total production to over 24,000 tonnes of cherry which will translate to over 4,000 tonnes of parchment coffee and more than 3,000 tonnes of clean coffee needed to sustain the running of the new milling factory.
Kiptis said that his goal is to ensure that by the end of the coffee improvement project farmers in Baringo will be earning more than Sh1.2 billion annually.
by Benson Kelio and Joshua Kibet