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Breakthrough for coffee farmers as Solidaridad steps in

Coffee farmers in Trans Nzoia County are set to benefit from a climate change initiative dubbed ‘climate victims to climate heroes’ under the Solidaridad organization.

Speaking during the official launch of the programme in the county, Trans Nzoia County CEC member for Agriculture Phanice Khatundi acknowledged that the programme is in line with Governor George Natembea’s manifesto.

“As we all know, the country is facing a challenge of climate change with more than 23 counties across the country facing hunger due to climatic variations,” said Khatundi.

Khatundi being the CEC of the Kenyan bread basket county, stated that she is ready to join hands with relevant stakeholders who have plans to support such programs to make sure that the county does not become a victim of climate change.

The CEC said the county government is in agreement with the organization’s programme of assisting coffee farmers in Trans Nzoia County in combating climate change.

“I want to believe that we know and are aware of how important coffee is to the western world, in Kenya, we just take it casually but in the European world coffee is very precious and fetches very high prices, “said Khatundi.

She acknowledged the partnership of Solidaridad with the county government over the past two years in sensitizing coffee farmers on proper propagation of coffee seedlings that has since helped boost coffee production in Muroki and Kapretwa coffee cooperatives leading to the two organisations becoming among the best in the county.

The CEC Agriculture noted that her department has come up with an agricultural crop act that has set up rules and regulations to curb planting seedlings which don’t meet the requisite standards.

Solidaridad Regional Project coordinator Steven Kithuka said that the project is about building resilience within the farming systems that focuses on addressing issues on effects of climate change.

Mr. Kithuka said that within the coffee farming systems, they want to introduce agroforestry such as fruit trees like macadamia and avocado or timber trees such as quilveria and other trees that are compatible with coffee so as to diversify farming and boost incomes.

He said that the county risks hunger if the issue of climate change is not addressed properly.

“Trans Nzoia being a food basket for the country, we risk hunger and under production of agricultural commodities including coffee and other food crops if the issue of climate change is not addressed,” said Kithuka.

Mr. Kithuka applauded President Ruto’s initiative to plant 5 billion trees in the next 5 years adding that the Solidaridad project will plant 2 million trees to contribute to the forest cover.

The county Solidaridad Coordinator Mr. Paul Kamau said that coffee farming delivers important ecosystem benefits in the form of carbon storage.

“There are multiple benefits of agroforestry for farmers, business and the environment, first, the project will reduce carbon emissions through better soil management, fertilizer management and wastewater management. Secondly, the project will enable farmers to increase quality and consistency of their produce as a result of the increased resilience provided by climate smart farm practices,” explained Mr. Kamau.

By Kosuri Valarie

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