Farmers in Uasin Gishu County have been encouraged to embrace high-value cash crops to broaden their economic earning base.
Since 2013, the County Government has been donating promotional crops in an effort to convince the farmers who have depended on maize and wheat to diversify to other crops considering the challenges they have been facing year in year out due to poor market prices.
So far, the county has distributed 68,000 Avocado seedlings, 17,000 grafted Macadamia seedlings, 35,500 Tissue Culture Bananas and 297,000 Coffee seedlings across the County.
The county governor Jackson Mandago while launching the distribution of Coffee, Macadamia, and Tissue Culture Banana seedlings among other crops in Tapsagoi Ward, Turbo sub-county said his government will continue supporting the farmers to adopt farming as a business.
Turbo sub-county received 18,000 coffee, 1,740 tissue culture banana seedlings, and 465 grafted Macadamia seedlings.
To ensure availability of the seedlings locally the county has established a coffee nursery in Chebororwa ATC, where it is raising 400,000 seedlings to be distributed to the farmers.
According to the governor the objective of the program is to support farmers to diversify into high-value commercial crop production and scale down on overreliance on cereals.
Mandago also observed that the promotional crops will also contribute to the 10% forest cover where the county is encouraging every farmer to plant trees.
In his remarks the county Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno said promotional crops such as coffee have high market demand noting that a 50kg bag of coffee trades at $360 (about Sh.36,000) in the international market while macadamia trades at $2 per kg (Sh. 200). An acre accommodates about 70 macadamia trees.
At the same time the county department of Agriculture Livestock Development and Fisheries has distributed 150 Dorper sheep to 30 women groups in Kamagut Ward, Turbo Sub County.
Director Veterinary Services Dr. Philip Biama urged residents to embrace and rear the Dorper breed not just as a gem but to boost their economic status.
“We want to be a centre for multiplication in Uasin Gishu and beyond because we believe in our breeders who will even see some sheep twin before the end of the year thus encouraging farmers to buy from the groups,” says Dr. Biamah.
By Kiptanui Cherono