Baringo County has lost a whooping Sh 95 million in form of revenue from the tourism sector as a result of adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic and flooding.
Speaking in Bartolimo ward, Baringo North, while issuing coffee seedlings to farmers Governor Stanley Kiptis said the loss was occasioned by drastic reduction of tourists visiting the region and destruction of hotels and lodges along the shores of Lakes Baringo and Bogoria by raging floods in 2020.
“The county gets a revenue of Sh 100 million every year from tourists who visit Lakes Bogoria and Baringo and we lost about 95 per cent of the collection as very few tourists visited the lakes,” he said.
Kiptis added that due to international travel advisory issued by many countries warning their citizens against travelling because of the dreaded Covid-19 disease many tourists suspended or cancelled their tours thus affecting the vibrant industry.
The county boss however noted that the sector was slowly recovering from the losses made last year through strategic marketing of the tourism sites, observance of Covid -19 protocols to ensure visitors are safe.
He said to move away from overdependence on sectors that are susceptible to vagaries of climate change, his administration has championed for initiation of other viable alternative sources to uplift lives of residents like planting of coffee, macadamia nuts, Hass avocados, tree tomatoes and tissue cultured bananas among other enterprises.
“We have decided to give seedlings to farmers to carry out coffee farming as an alternative to depending on tourism after the Covid- 19 pandemic”, Kiptis said.
The governor accompanied by his Deputy Jacob Chepkwony, County Executive Committee (CEC) for Agriculture and Livestock Development Joel Koima, area MCA John Aengwo and his Bartabwa counterpart Reuben Chepsongol encouraged local farmers to embrace coffee growing in order to improve their economic status.
He asked the producers to increase acreage under the cash crop to take advantage of the recently commissioned Katimok Coffee Factory saying that the installed machine mills 1.2 tons per hour meaning in 8hours a day it will be milling 9.8 tones, implying that it requires a lot of coffee to make the venture profitable.
During the distribution being carried out to coffee growing sub counties a total of 30,000 seedlings were given to local farmers for planting this season.
By Caroline Cherono