Siaya governor, James Orengo has challenged the local residents to embrace agribusiness so as to boost food security and tackle rampant poverty.
Mr. Orengo lamented that though the county and the entire Nyanza region was endowed with a good climate and fertile soils, little has been done to exploit the resources for the betterment of the society.
He was speaking at Simerro village in Ugunja Sub County during this year’s world food day celebrations.
The governor said it was a pity that the county was endowed with numerous rivers and streams that empty into Lake Victoria, water that is later used by the river Nile basin countries upstream to produce agricultural products that are later sold back to Kenya.
“We cannot command respect among nations if we are not food secure,” Orengo said adding “the water that we let flow to Lake Victoria and river Nile is used by countries like Egypt to produce food which is later sold to us”.
Orengo, who was flanked by his deputy, William Oduol, said efforts must be made to revive cotton farming and other cash crops such as Robusta coffee that was once grown in parts of the county.
“I am urging our people to go back to the cultivation of cash crops such as cotton, sugarcane and Robusta Coffee that used to be grown in parts of Ugunja, Ugenya and Gem sub counties,” said the governor.
He said that his government will employ more agricultural extension officers to serve the residents and increase food production.
On fishing, Orengo said that the county would soon rely on central Kenya for fish as the stock in Lake Victoria continues to dwindle and the slow pace of adoption of fish farming in the area.
“In the next five to 10 years, we will be going to Sagana for fish. Fish stock in Lake Victoria is dwindling and our friends in Sagana have embraced fish farming and they will be supplying us with fish,” noted Orengo.
By Philip Onyango