Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani has advised small-scale farmers in the county to adopt modern agricultural practices and innovation to boost food production.
Governor Achani says it is high time local farmers realized that modern farming techniques increase food production and eradicates poverty and hunger.
The county boss says the devolved unit was focusing on agriculture as a means of economic diversification and revenue earnings for the county.
She said her administration was determined to improve the agricultural and rural development fortunes of the coastal county to generate jobs and economic opportunities for the residents.
She called on women and youths to embrace agriculture to ensure self-reliance in the face of current economic and food security challenges facing the country.
“This would help them in fighting poverty and improving the living conditions of their families while boosting their socio-economic status,” she said, adding that the youths should embrace agriculture rather than waiting for white-collar jobs.
Achani spoke in her office in Kwale town when she received a delegation from the Royal Danish Embassy led by Counsellor Morgen Strunge Larsen.
She noted that there is a need for smallholder farmers to continuously improve their agricultural knowledge and skills in the wake of climate change and weather patterns.
Achani says her administration is alive to the fact that a vibrant agriculture sector remains a key driver to economic growth and a major contributor to poverty reduction.
“As a devolved government we commit to support all programs aimed at improving the food security in our county, and also enhancing the livelihoods of our people and moving them from poverty to prosperity,” she said.
She said that if locals embraced agriculture it would facilitate the attainment of food security, fight unemployment and enhance the socio-economic growth of the county.
“We will continue to boost agribusiness undertakings geared towards achieving food and nutrition security,” she said.
Achani says her administration’s focus on agriculture is premised on knowledge creation and transfer, mechanization, extension service delivery, livestock development, crop value chain strengthening, fisheries and aquaculture.
Counsellor Larsen said the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) is undertaking Micro Enterprises Support Programme Trust (MESPT) whose priority areas of focus within the strategic plan period 2021-2025 include Agri enterprise development, access to finance, agricultural production and food safety and green transformation.
He added that the Kenya Agricultural Livestock and Research Organization is working with over 2380 farmers in Kwale County who have received support from the Danish Embassy.
“The Danida support to the Kwale farmers include issuance of hybrid seedlings of Coconut, Cassava and Muringa, and Access to financial institutions to commercialize Agriculture,” he said, adding that Danida has sustained various initiatives for the development of the agricultural sector in the counties.
He stated that Danida would continue to provide financial and technical support to fast-track agricultural development in Kenya and urged smallholder farmers to adopt new technologies and best practices for enhanced production.
Larsen said the Danish government will continue to work closely with the counties in a bid to enhance their food and nutrition security.
MESPT Chief Executive Officer Rebecca Amukhoye says they are implementing the Green Employment in Agriculture Program (GEAP) in Kwale County, focusing on four value chains; coconut, cassava, moringa and indigenous poultry.
She said MESPT is a development organization whose main objective is to boost small holder farmers and Agri SMEs to increase productivity, income and enhance competitiveness for job creation especially for youth and women.
By Hussein Abdullahi and Hellen Awino