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Kericho County makes significant strides in devolution

This year, Kenya celebrated ten years of devolution by taking stock of milestones devolved governments have achieved, and the challenges they have encountered, and had the chance to chart the way forward to promote the success of devolution.

Kericho County has benefited from devolution in various sectors including agriculture which is a key economic sector that contributes significantly to the country’s economy through the production of cash crops such as tea and coffee, which has benefited farmers through various interventions by the county government.

According to Kericho Governor Dr Eric Mutai, the Department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Cooperative Management has been able to train farmers on agri-business modern technologies for maximum production and value addition on farm products among others.

“Our focus in government has been to appropriate and give more resources to agriculture to ensure that we improve the breeds the farmers are rearing in their villages by improving the cattle they are keeping so that within the third generation of their production they are able to realize the best pedigree of their animal that will guarantee a good return on their production,” said Dr. Mutai.

In an interview with KNA Dr. Mutai noted that since Kipkelion coffee dealers were given direct licensing as a cooperative to trade in their coffee, they were now guaranteed the best returns on their coffee.

“We have also support programs for our farmers and this involves the distribution of coffee seedlings, so far we have empowered close to 6,000 farmers and we hope that in the next two years, they will be able to harvest and get good returns,” divulged Dr. Mutai.

As for the tea sub-sector, the governor pointed out that the ongoing reforms would benefit small-scale farmers adding that the County government was exploring ways of establishing a tea auction center in Kericho for farmers to market their produce locally.

“We have seen the government removing taxes on tea and this will see us get the best prices for the farmers and reforms at the tea auction market are also welcome,” stressed Dr Mutai.

In the education sector, hundreds of vulnerable students including orphans and those from financially challenged backgrounds continue to benefit from the Equalizer Empowerment fund across the county adding that the Equalizer Empowerment Program has also supported critical educational infrastructure, including the construction of classrooms and TVET facilities.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health Services has begun decongesting the County Referral Hospital by establishing certified laboratories, newborn units, trauma centres, dialysis units, and an upcoming Oncology centre.

“We are upgrading dispensaries in the Wards into Health Centres and we have already upgraded six and we aim to upgrade six others in this financial year to decongest the Sub-County Hospitals and the County Referral Hospital so that patients can receive medical services from the facilities at the Ward level, Sub-County and referrals to the County Hospital,” Dr. Mutai said.

Another milestone for Kericho according to the governor is the Sh1.2 billion Kimugu Water Project recently commissioned by President Willian Ruto which will supply 13 million litres of clean water to hundreds of thousands of people in Kericho town, Ainamoi, Kipkelion East, and parts of Belgut.

“All these projects and many others are fruits of devolution which was established by the 2010 constitution to ensure resources get to the grassroots and citizens can access leadership and resources within easy reach. We have just completed our County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) which highlights our five-year development plan and the overall framework for the development and management of resources” said Dr. Mutai

According to the State Department for Devolution, the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) is a plan prepared by all counties to guide development over five years and contains information on development priorities that inform the annual budget process, particularly the preparation of annual development plans, the annual county fiscal strategy papers, and the annual budget estimates.

By Kibe Mburu

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