Baringo residents are set for better returns on their enterprises after the County government entered into a five-year collaboration agreement with Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) to exploit value chains in fish, beekeeping, livestock and horticulture.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will emphasize on sustainable project development and resource mobilization by exploring the shared competencies of the parties and is expected to lead to successful implementation of well-designed and well-resourced programs.
The MoU signed at Arap Moi Secondary School in Bartabwa ward in Baringo North Sub County by Governor Benjamin Cheboi and KVDA Managing Director Sammy Naporos will see the County Government and the Authority undertake joint development programmes within the County.
The programs will focus on promotion of beekeeping value chain, livestock and pasture seed development, fisheries development, climate change mitigation, environmental conservation exercises and peace initiatives.
The MoU will also focus on developing climate smart agriculture, water harvesting and storage for agricultural activities and domestic use as well as undertaking resource mobilization programs.
While signing the deal, Governor Cheboi said the agreement is an avenue for wealth creation and eventually will improve the livelihoods of residents and the County’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“During my campaigns, I told residents of Baringo that I will look for partners in government agencies, donors and the private sector. This is now part of the pledge made to you. The MoU is to help us partner to ensure the livelihoods of the population are improved because of the effects of climate change,” said the Governor.
He said the MoU has a component of peace initiative which is very key to his administration because insecurity has led to life and property loss as well as underdevelopment.
“The programs to be initiated will involve diversification and this will lead to many sources of diversifying the income-generating activities. The value chains in livestock, fish, beekeeping and horticulture will be greatly improved,” he stated.
The Governor noted that from Lake Baringo fishing, locals make an annual return of over Sh 800 million though the sector is largely underutilized.
“The value chain in fish will be tapped and the return from fish farming will increase considerably just like the bee keeping which is also central to my administration. Bee farmers earn about Sh1 billion annually and through the partnership, we will quadruple the production because we now focus on export markets,” he said.
Governor Cheboi said they will diversify the crop farming sector through mango and coffee from which farmers earned over Sh 24 million.
The county boss revealed that the County has investors including those from Germany who are willing to set up a factory for mango value addition.
“Also, the seed pasture development like the one in Chemeron, Baringo South will give us carbon credits and will help climate change mitigation efforts. Further, the partnership will help in environmental conservation because we intend to plant over a million tree seedlings,” he said.
Naporos who was accompanied by his board Chairman Mark Chesergon said they will from May kick start drought mitigation measures in the region with construction of water pans worth Sh100 million.
“We intend to alleviate water scarcity to effectively fight food insecurity and water pans will be constructed in water stressed areas. Also, we have rolled out sustainable conservation efforts which involve the supplying of mango and avocado seedlings to farmers for environmental conservation as well as income generation,” he said.
Naporos said they already have 100,000 fruit seedlings for planting and will distribute them across the region which will help in mitigating environmental degradation.
“Diversification of income generating activities will provide alternative sources of income to youth and women with specific initiatives being establishment of mango orchards, tree nurseries, carbon trading and pasture seed production. These initiatives will go hand in hand with joint peace initiatives,” said the KVDA MD.
Chesergon on his part said their main mandate was environmental conservation along the Kerio Valley basin noting that this explains why there is a deliberate attempt to conserve it as well as coming up with sustainable programs for income generation.
“The seedlings require attention to enable them to reach maturity without going to waste. In this way we are going to achieve the Presidential directive of 10 per cent forest. More other activities have been lined up to generate income to the local residents,” he said.
The event was also attended by local leaders including Baringo Deputy Governor Engineer Felix Kimaiyo, County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Agriculture Risper Chepkonga and area MCA David Sitoi.
By Benson Kelio