Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya Maarten Brouwer met with Tharaka Nithi County Governor Muthomi Njuki to discuss the various opportunities in agriculture which are expected to benefit the residents.
They discussed the inclusion of youths in agriculture as a business through collaboration between Tharaka Nithi County government and the Dutch government to increase job opportunities and boost livelihoods.
Speaking during a consultative meeting in Chuka, the ambassador said that they are keen on activities that focus on getting local food produced and marketed in a more sustainable and commercial way to provide income and food to families.
Brouwer explained they aim to have sustainable programs that go for a longer period of time where farmers can keep producing even with changing weather patterns.
The governor and the ambassador agreed that the Dutch government will continue to fund many value chain support programs in the agriculture sector within the county.
“We came to look at how things are going on, the development and challenges at the county level in order to understand the real situation. We discussed extensively on agriculture, food production especially coffee and nutrition value and we are going to look at programs that focus much on those issues,” revealed the ambassador.
Brouwer said that more youths need to be part of agricultural activities to make a living out of it. He assured the county of a smooth collaboration in order to make it more effective in-service delivery.
On his part, Njuki emphasized that the Dutch government is supporting agricultural value chain programs in sectors like dairy, bananas, coffee and horticulture with a particular interest in small-scale farmers in various parts of the County.
He noted that their main focus is to see youth involvement in local coffee plantations to boost their production and sustainability in the near future.
The governor stated that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the county and the Dutch government to develop a road map on how to engage and become more effective in delivering services to the people.
The County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Njue Njagi said the Netherlands embassy has supported Igambang’ombe Cooperative Society by expanding stores and procuring machinery that is going to polish and add value to green grams to fit in the niche market.
He explained that through the two-scale project they have received support for farmers by crowd funding to acquire machinery on a 50/50 per cent basis in terms of contribution which has greatly boosted agricultural activities in the county.
Njagi said agriculture is a key area of collaboration for farmers’ capacity building, adding that to do farming as a business there is need to know how and what to invest.
The county executive also said that it’s important to come up with ways to maximize production and reduce post-harvest losses by creating better markets for farmers to make good income on their produce.
He further disclosed that as a county they would like to collaborate with the embassy on coffee production to incorporate more youths to the practice.
Njagi said the youth should learn the best farming practices to increase daily value chain production by expanding and enhancing what they already have. He also outlined the importance of introducing new technology to improve milk and beef value and subside artificial insemination.
By Sharon Gitau