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Kwale County distributes 1,000 hybrid coconut tree seedlings to farmers 

Kwale County government has kicked off the distribution of 1000 hybrid coconut tree seedlings to local farmers in a bid to significantly enhance coconut production across the coastal county.

The county government has embarked on an aggressive expansion programme for the cultivation of coconut plantations commonly called “the tree of life” across Kwale to encourage massive production of coconut.

Every single part of the coconut tree is good and useful and is often referred to as the tree of life because of its usefulness starting from the leaves and fruits down to the trunk and roots.

Coconut trees are a source of food, beverage, oil seed, fibers and timber and health products and are also associated with mystery and omen in the lives of coastal communities.

Coir (fibre from the outer husk of the coconut) products such as floor mats, rope, brushes and filings for mattresses are made from the tough fibre of coconut husk.

Governor Fatuma Achani who has launched the distribution exercise has affirmed that the devolved government will continue to provide maximum support to all farmers in the coastal county.

She decried that the coconut production in the coastal region has been declining over the years owing to the wanton felling of coconut trees for housing, fuel and industrial use.

Achani also noted that the coconut subsector had also been constrained by lack of adequate research, poor agronomical practices, lack of appropriate and affordable technologies, exploitation by middlemen and lack of access to credit facilities by smallholder farmers.

“The full potential of the coconut sub-sector can be realised by investing in value-added activities in the coconut value chain,” she said.

Governor Achani says the initiative, which involves the distribution of hybrid coconut seedlings to over 1000 farmers, marks a pivotal moment in efforts to revitalise the coconut sub-sector and promote sustainable agriculture.

She says her administration will give the agricultural sector its rightful position in the development of the county and called on the people to avail themselves of the various opportunities in agriculture made possible by the devolved government to improve their standards of living.

Achani says the distribution of the seedlings dubbed ‘cash crop revolution programme’ is part of efforts by the devolved unit to increase the production level of coconut in the county.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony at the county headquarters, Governor Achani emphasised the critical role of farming in the county’s economy and urged farmers to seize the opportunity presented by the onset of the long rainy season.

“I urge farmers to seize the opportunity at this onset of the long rains and that the distribution exercise will take place in all 20 administrative wards of Kwale to lift families out of poverty,” she said.

She went on, “Farming is the backbone of our economy; I therefore call on all farmers to take advantage of the long rainy season and put efforts into farming,”.

Achani says the coconut tree seedlings distribution is part of efforts to revamp the coconut sector noting that coconut investors are available within and outside the county signifying the high potential of coconut farming.

She says the county through the partnership with the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) is poised to encourage the farmers to contribute to the collaborative effort of massive production of coconuts and its value chains describing coconut as a major game changer in terms of crop diversification.

Achani says her administration would ensure that the coconut seedlings allocated to the county through AFA will be judiciously and transparently distributed to the local farmers.

She acknowledged that the production level of coconut in the county is low and urged local farmers to invest in coconut production.

The coastal county boss emphasised that coconut farming is a cash-flowing business and encouraged local farmers to embrace coconut farming.

Achani says coconut is a highly significant commodity in the coastal region culturally, socially and economically.

She says they are abundantly used in everyday life from consumption to cultural events and yield great potential for local and export markets.

Meanwhile Governor Achani opened a small scale cassava processing plant in Magodi in mivumoni village unit of Ramisi Ward, Msambweni Sub-county.

Achani challenged the local farmers to plant cassavas on a large scale so as to keep up with the milling process at the new plant and attract a wider market.

“The cassava processing plant managed by vision Magodi cassava processors will help in converting the cassava tree final product into flour that can be used for various purposes,” she said.

The processing plant project is financed by the European Union under the Go Blue Programme and is being implemented by CIHEAM Bari (International Centre for Advanced Agronomic Studies) as a sub-delegated agency of AICS (Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation).

She says the project is involved in cassava production where introduction of certified cassava seeds was done, cassava processing equipment was installed and training on marketing and linking the Magodi Cassava Processors to entrepreneurs and consumers.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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