The Kitui County Governor, Charity Ngilu has appealed to the government to buy ndengu from farmers in the county who are being exploited by middlemen.
Ngilu said that the National Youth Service (NYS) should consider procuring the green grams from the region, which experienced a bumper harvest.
Speaking in Masungwa in Mwingi North on Friday, the Governor lamented that middlemen are buying the produce at throw away prices.
“It is unfortunate that the farmers are selling ndengu between Sh. 35-50 per kilo. The returns are meagre to support their livelihoods, ‘ added Governor Ngilu.
In a swift rejoinder, Eugene Wamalwa, Devolution Cabinet Secretary (CS), said that he will liaise with Amina Mohammed, Education CS to include ndengu in the school menu.
“If the Ministry of Education accepts the proposal, then ndengu farmers will have a ready market for their produce,” said Wamalwa.
The Devolution CS noted that the inclusion of ndengu in the school diet, will improve the nutrition and quality of food served to children.
The County embarked on a ndengu revolution through the procurement of 88.5 metric tonnes of certified ndengu seeds in the first phase.
“Each farmer received free seeds for planting ahead of the planting season,” said Governor Ngilu.
The County government partnered with the Kenya Red Cross Society to distribute the seeds across the vast county.
“We identified Kitui County as a vulnerable region, following the failed rains and the prolonged dry spell last season. Majority of the people are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet.
He said that the ambitious program impelemented jointly with Kenya Red Cross and dubbed the ‘Ndengu Revolution’ seeks to eradicate perennial hunger in Kitui county, as well as improve livelihoods of residents and reduce poverty through rural development.
Governor Ngilu said the programme was in line with her administration’s objectives of tackling Kitui County’s food problems, deep rooted poverty through economic empowerment of residents through utilization of locally available resources.
“This project has come at an opportune moment to support residents meet their immediate needs through early recovery initiatives that strengthen livelihoods through support to subsistence farmers, as well as access to water,” Dr. Gullet said.
By Yobesh Onwong’a