Farmers in Siaya County have been urged to grow a variety of crops besides maize, to improve on food security.
The County Executive for Agriculture, Dr. Elizabeth Odhiambo, gave the advice, saying area residents should not over rely on maize as a staple food, because of the challenges to produce enough, and the high cost of the commodity.
The CEC said over reliance on maize caused many families to be food insecure, and therefore the need to grow a variety of food crops.
Dr. Odhiambo said it was prudent for families in the area to grow beans, cassava, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes and fruits, which were tolerant to fluctuating rainfall levels, compared to maize.
“These foods will also ensure balanced diet for healthy living, than consuming starch alone from maize,” said the official.
The Agriculture CEC, was speaking at an agricultural exhibitions at Cosmas Oduor’s model farm, in Masanga village, Sidindi Ward, Siaya County. She added that besides food crops, families should also diversify to dairy and poultry farming, and growing of livestock fodder for sale.
Siaya County Deputy Governor, Dr. Ouko Okumbe, at the exhibitions, urged more farmers to form cooperative societies to get financial and farm inputs assistance from the county government, which now had a legal backing after the area County Assembly passed the Cooperative Bill 2019.
“To support agricultural diversification, Siaya County government had so far distributed 728 dairy cows, 1.7 tonnes of fish feeds and Sh. 138 million to revive the growing and sale of cotton,” said Charles Siso, the Chief Officer, in the Agriculture Ministry.
According to a World Food Programme (WFP) 2016 food security survey, Siaya was among the top six counties insecure in food, at 51 per cent of the population. Other counties were Samburu, Tana River, Baringo, West Pokot and Busia.
By Paul Olale