Kakamega County government has set aside Sh500 million to subsidize the cost of fertilizer and maize seeds to support production of adequate food.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya asked farmers to take advantage of the subsidy programme to purchase enough fertilizer and maize seeds in readiness for the planting season.
The subsidy programme is a relief to farmers who would have had to part with Sh5,000 to purchase a 50 kilogram of fertilizer.
Under the programme, the county government cost shares with the farmer who is now required to pay half of the cost of the fertilizer as the county government pays the other half.
Oparanya said the county government is committed to supporting food production to curb hunger among county residents.
“We are spending a lot of money in the project on the realization that food is very important to the livelihoods of county residents,” he noted.
Speaking in a separate forum, Deputy Governor Professor Philip Kutima said the subsidy programme has been undertaken to increase food production.
He said when they were elected in 2013, Kakamega County had a food deficit due to low production levels of food as a result of high cost of farm inputs and poor soils.
The County government embarked on testing soils to determine suitable fertilizers that would increase production.
“We tested the soil and found out that they were too acidic in areas like Mumias where sugarcane is grown in plenty. In some places, crops could not grow properly even sugarcane,” he noted.
With the soil testing results, the county government availed fertilizer that had lime both for planting and top dressing to neutralize the high acidity levels.
“Our people are now having enough food to eat and sell. We want now when they produce more we can have the maize stored somewhere so that we can have value addition for their produce for them to have more money,” he noted.
He said provision of enough food is also meant to improve the nutrition of Kakamega residents.
By Valentine Muganda and Tomma Kiteto