A Non-governmental Organization, Self Help Africa has set up a plant clinic in Homa Bay County to improve cassava value chain in the region.
Speaking during the launch of the plant clinic in one of the hotels in Homa bay town Friday, area deputy governor Hamilton Orata said that 3, 000 local farmers have been coopted into the programme, while they were targeting 8, 000 by next year.
Orata said that the initiative has so far spent Sh13 million to add value to the crop in the region.
The deputy governor noted that cassava is never affected by climate change like other crops, hence the need for more farmers to engage in large scale farming. “Cassava does well in both rainy and dry season,” he reiterated.
Orata further underscored the importance of cassava as both cash crop subsistence food, adding that the county administration had already trained 15 extension officers to be deployed in each sub county to help farmers in dealing with pest and disease control.
The deputy governor appealed to more farmers to embrace cassava farming and boost production saying that European Union promised to set up a factory in the region.
On her part, the head of programme Cleric Kionge said that the five year programme which runs in 6 other counties of Kilifi, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu and Migori counties aimed at commercializing cassava production and marketing the product.
Kionge further disclosed that they would be working with about 20, 000 farmers spread across the six counties in the 5 year Sh6.2 million European Union funded project.
The project will seek to addresses major challenges hindering commercialization of cassava farming for instance the spread of viral disease such as cassava mosaic.
“These diseases may wipe out cassava out of the production due to their severity and the fact that they can’t be eradicated,” she said.
At the same time, the head of programme said the plant clinics would not only deal with cassava but also other crops.
The project will also link cassava farmers to various markets besides enabling them to get clean planting materials, she added.
By Dan Oduor/Davis Langat