Busia County Government, in collaboration with the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), has embarked on large-scale production of groundnuts with the aim of alleviating poverty within the county.
Speaking to the press during a farmers’ field day at Amaase in Teso South on Wednesday, Busia Chief Officer for Livestock, Fisheries, and the Blue Economy, Timothy Odende, said that 80 per cent of local residents live within rural areas and 70 per cent of them depend on agriculture but live on less than 1 US dollar per day.
“Under this programme, we are trying to get over 50 per cent of those who are surviving on less than one dollar per day out of poverty,” he said, adding that the initiative is being spearheaded by industrial crops like groundnuts.
Odende added that the programme has already engaged more than 80 households, which are planting 50 acres of groundnuts.
“We also have groundnut grains from about 4,800 households covering over 3,500 acres,” he said, expressing hope that the groundnut will turn around the economic status of the local residents.
He pointed out that the cost of production versus the market price was the greatest challenge faced by farmers.
“So, as we are promoting groundnuts, we are working on modalities of reducing the cost of producing them and increasing the value received from the crop,” he said.
The official urged farmers to embrace the ongoing farmer registration exercise, adding that most of the interventions will rely on the available data.
Busia CEC Member for Agriculture George Mukok, said ASDSP has partnered with Kephis and KALRO to ensure that the groundnut produced in the county is aflatoxin resistant.
Mukok stated that certified seeds are propagated by one farmer before being shared by other farmers.
“We want to plant certified seeds and select the best ones during the harvest while we grind the remaining ones,” he said.
He further stated that the county targets to harvest 35 tonnes of both groundnut grains and seeds during this season,” adding that more groundnuts will be planted during the long rainy season in March next year.
Mukok stated at the same time that Nasewa Industrial Park will be one of the markets for the groundnut produce.
The official further urged the youth to embrace modern agricultural technologies and strategize on various value chains.
The CEC member stated that 80 per cent of land parcels in Busia are arable and the climate is very conducive.
Farmers at the forum thanked the county government for providing them with quality seeds, adding that they expect a bumper harvest.
By Salome Alwanda