The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator (Washington) Ms. Maura Barry has said that there is need to have close partnerships between the government and civil societies in order to improve agriculture in Makueni County.
Consequently, Ms. Barry said that in this collaboration, it is important to include women and youth who would a play a role in achieving food security and increase income for farmers in the county.
“It is important to work closely with county government and civil society’s partnerships to thrive. This will enhance food production by farmers and increase food security,” said Barry on Tuesday when she paid a courtesy call on the Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed in his Wote office on Tuesday.
The Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator who was touring various projects funded by her organization that included Kathozweni Dairy Factory and also supported 8,070 farmers who are women (55%) and youth (10%) at Goshen involved in mango and passion fruit farming.
The target farmers have accessed clean planting materials whereby Goshen farmers have distributed over 30,000 passion fruit seedlings and can also access extension services, integrated pest management technologies and climate-smart technologies and also steady market for their farm produce.
During her tour of Makueni County, Barry also visited Sinai Water Project in Kathozweni that has been installed with solar panels to pump water to beneficiaries.
She observed that the water would go a long way in fighting waterborne diseases in the area besides providing clean water for domestic use.
“The water from the project will improve lives of especially women and children in schools. Cases of waterborne disease have gone down,” she said.
On his part, the County Commissioner lauded the organization for the assistance they have given to farmers in the county especially in eradicating the fruit fly that had reduced earnings.
Mohammed particularly said that the farmers have been empowered and linked to markets which has curbed exploitation of farmers by middlemen who have been taking advantage of lack of markets to sell farm produce.
“We appreciate your support to farmers to eradicate the fruit fly. The farmers have been linked to direct international markets. This has led farmers to earn maximum profits,” said Mohammed.
On partnerships, the administrator said the government works through a coordinated manner while saying the same is extended to development partners working in the country.
By Patrick Nyakundi