Hundreds of Gatundu North farmers in Kiambu County have received over 5,000 macadamia seedlings, to complement subsistence farming and boost their earnings.
The seedlings, distributed by Thika Member of Parliament (MP), Patrick Wainaina, would also increase forest cover in the area whose climate favor macadamia, avocado, tea and dairy farming.
Speaking at Gachege Shopping Centre during the distribution exercise, the farmers led by Lucy Njoki, said they will embark on commercializing the crop and streamlining marketing to earn extra income especially with the improvement of the price of nuts in the markets.
They rooted for value addition of the macadamia and avocado to increase demand locally and in the international markets as well as fetch better prices.
“Macadamia and avocado farming is the mainstay of this area and increasing the acreage under the two trees, would improve production and boost earnings. What we need is value-addition of the produce, so that they can fetch good prices,” said Njoki.
Daniel Mungai, another farmer decried their continued exploitation by brokers, who buy their produce cheaply and export them, fetching better prices.
He called on the government to intervene, to help them get better returns.
Wainaina called on the farmers to complement subsistence farming with macadamia and avocado production, to be assured of better returns all year through.
While rooting for value addition of local produce, the MP, a major investor in macadamia and avocado production and exportation, said it was the only way farmers can be assured of improved earnings.
He vowed to deliver more seedlings to help the farmers have alternative sources of income to weed out poverty in the Sub-county.
“The pricing of these two products has now improved and farmers have started earning well. Nothing stops farmers from making over Sh300, 000 a year from avocado and macadamia farming as an agribusiness,” Wainaina said.
The Governor hopeful urged the farmers to disregard all forms of middlemen and instead sell their harvests, to legit companies directly for better earnings.
By Muoki Charles