Small scale fruit farmers in Meru County have been urged to enhance organic farming as much as they embark on applying emerging modern farming technology.
The remarks were made by the Meru County National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth Project (NARIGP) Project Coordinator, Patrick Ng’ang’a during a farmers’ sensitization seminar at Kaguru Farmers’ Training Centre in Imenti South sub-county on Monday.
Ng’ang’a said the project was initiated and funded by the World Bank through the National government and was being implemented in collaboration with the county government providing the personnel to carry out the actual implementation activities out in the field.
The Coordinator said the project development objective was geared towards achieving food security in areas where it was being implemented in line with the President’s Big Four agenda where the commitment to safeguard food security was evident.
He said the estimated amount of money to be spent on implementing the project was about Sh.970million with the bulk of it going towards funding community micro-projects and producer organizations.
The farmers however, blamed uncontrolled importation of what they produced locally for the losses they were incurring annually as they appealed to the national and county government to protect small scale farmers in the region.
They commended the government for the many initiatives put in place towards assisting farmers in their respective farm activities saying embracing safer modern farming activities had greatly safeguarded food security along with enhancing household and community cash flow.
A farmer from Buuri sub-county, Jared Mugambi said he had been enjoying good returns since he embarked on orange trees farming in his Timau farm over three decades ago, but cited the last nine years as having been the worst in his business.
He noted that while it was in the public domain that there was inadequate supply of fruits in the market, making them very expensive for the consumers, his produce continued to go to waste at farm level due to uncontrolled importation of cheap commodities into the country in the recent times.
Mugambi challenged the national and county government in collaboration with other players in the agricultural sector to lobby for proper legislation on the importation of commodities that were being produced locally.
He regretted that imported fruits were being preferred by consumers for being cheap against the prices of the locally produced, saying the high production cost was due to the very expensive farm inputs in the Kenyan market.
By Makaa Margaret