Kiambu coffee farmers have witnessed their yields increase by over seven tonnes owing to the use of blended fertilizer in their farms.
The blended fertilizer has helped to reduce the cost of production while maximizing yields since it combines various fertilizers such as Calcium Ammonium Nitrate(CAN) and Diphosphate Per(DAP) as well as lime to reduce soil acidity.
Kiambu County Governor Dr. James Nyoro said that the use of blended fertilizer came as a result of discussion and research by farmers’ leaders on appropriate fertilizer for the highly acidic soil while meeting other nutritional needs for coffee in the farms.
“When coffee farmers approached me to provide fertilizers, I asked what they wanted and they said CAN and DAP. However, given the state of soils in the farms, I asked them to research and it is when the idea of blended fertilizer was born.” said Nyoro yesterday.
Nyoro was speaking in Kiambu when distributing 100 tonnes of blended fertilizer to leaders of twenty-two farmers’ cooperatives drawn from all the sub-counties.
He thanked the farmers for cooperating and giving guidance to each other and him as well, saying that it is what has brought out the good results.
He also promised that the County government will increase production by continuing to offer shared services to farmers.
” My experience of over eighteen years in coffee sector has given me passion for coffee. I am going to do everything within my power to see that farmers get high quality and quantity coffee. One way to achieve this is by offering collective services to our farmers.” He said.
The governor promised to see that farmers are cushioned against exploitation by building a processing plant in Kiambu and ensuring that all the coffee produced is bought within the County and at better prices, adding that the coffee will also be consumed within the County to give farmers and residents full power.
” Once we are done with production, the next phase will be to facilitate processing and value addition as well as marketing in the County. Once processed, the coffee will be sold as a Kiambu brand. Our work should not be to produce while others benefit from our sweat, we must also benefit.” Nyoro said.
Nyoro further said that his administration has a plan to empower single mothers, who he noted have recently increased in number through the coffee sector. ” We will open franchises and other related businesses, where single mothers will be working in order to empower and better their lives.
The governor, who aims to retain his gubernatorial position in the forthcoming election, asked residents to elect intelligent leaders who understand their needs as leaders are a reflection of the society even internationally.
Joseph Kamau, Kiambu County Executive Committee (CEC) for agriculture said that the County government has given 860 tons of blended fertilizer within two years, 760 tons in the first phase and 100 tons in the second phase.
“In the first phase, each of the registered 35,000 coffee farmers in the County got a bag of 10kg blended fertilizer which helped increase coffee yield by over 7 tons. Today we have given out 100 tons which will benefit 10, 000 farmers. Each 10 kg bag can be used on 40 coffee trees.” said Kamau.
The 100 tonnes of fertilizer is expected to improve coffee production by 2.5 times more and according to the CEC, Kiambu County is the leading producer of coffee in the country as 25 percent of coffee comes from the small and large scale coffee farming in the County.
“Apart from the fertilizer, we aim to further increase this production by providing shared services to our farmers from a pool of experts”, he said reiterating the Governors remarks
Kamau further said that the processing plant that will be put up in the County will be a boost for the farmers but the County will also be facilitating marketing for the farmer.
” The success in Agriculture in this county has all been possible through the allocation for agricultural and cooperatives development budget of up to Ksh 2 billion and we are grateful to our governor for that.” Kamau said.
Kiambu County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for trade and cooperatives David Mwea said that this is just a beginning as the ministry aims at ensuring that there is a kiambu coffee brand that will enable the coffee fetch high prices even at the international markets so that farmers can earn what they deserve.
Meanwhile, Francis Kariuki, the chairperson for Kiambu County coffee farmers’ cooperative associations thanked the governor and called upon all coffee farmers to work together for a better future for coffee farmers.
By Lucy Mwikali