The County Baringo has signed a partnership with Slovakia government that would enable farmers receive 560,000 Macadamia seedlings at subsidized price for planting in the next two years.
The County executive (CEC) for Trade, Commerce, Industrialization and Cooperative Development, Dr. David Sergon said through the agreement the county government will embark on distribution of the seedlings within the period in a bid to step up production of the crop.
Dr. Sergon added that Slovakia government through Tensenses Nut Company, an export processing zone firm, said apart from creating market opportunities, they will provide technical support to the macadamia farmers who do contract farming to supply produce to the company.
Speaking during Macadamia production assessment tour at Eldama Ravine and Sirwa areas on Saturday, the CEC member said the county government was committed to providing the necessary infrastructural facilities through cooperative societies in order not only to empower those in Macadamia sub sector but other crops.
“We are going to ensure our staff are trained to offer technical support and requisite skills to our farmers on best farming practices so that we get quality macadamia products for export market. We are also going to register farmers into organized groups as a way of dealing effectively with production of the crop,” underscored Dr. Sergon.
He stated that as county government they were going to pursue value addition strategies by establishing a factory within the production areas that will process and package the end product for export to European markets and USA.
In the function attended by among others,the Vice President of World Chambers Federation, Kiprono Kitony, the Vice President Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Dr. Erick Rutto, the Trade and Cooperative CEC urged area farmers to take advantage of the two year programme by planting seedlings especially during the forthcoming long rains season to increase production in order to satisfy the market demand, create employment and generate income for themselves.
Kitony in his key address called on local farmers to join cooperative societies since it is the only link between them, the government and development partners.
The programme, he stated, also targets active cooperative societies which will be used to distribute the subsidized seedlings to their registered members with macadamia plantations.
“I am confident that if we take advantage of the excellent climatic conditions in the county, we shall be able to uplift the economy of people in the region and make the local farmers more economically independent and ultimately put up a factory that create employment and find a foreign market for the farmers’ produce,” explained Kitony.
The World Chambers boss noted that agriculture has a huge potential for agri-business growth and plays a great role as part of the Big Four agenda of the president, food security and nutrition and manufacturing.
The Representative of Tensense Company, Africa Limited. Murray Combes who graced the occasion said his company was rolling out its success in Macadamia production in Central region to other areas of Kenya which are conducive to the growing of the nuts.
Combes said the company has nurseries that supply seedlings at subsidized prices to farmers through cooperation with county governments. “We also do follow up with agro economics support programmes to farmers who are registered with cooperative societies,” the Tensense company official said.
He assured the farmers that the company was ready to buy the products at current market prices adding that there is adequate markets in Europe and USA in addition to emerging markets in other regions of the world.
By Joshua Kibet