Nyandarua farmers benefit from a potato revitalization programme

Agriculture Counties Editor's Pick Nyandarua

About 2,000 farmers in Nyandarua are set to benefit from a Potato Production Revitalization Programme that will subsidize the cost of fertilizer and other farm inputs by 40 percent.

The Programme that will be running in Meru, Nyandarua and Elgeyo Marakwet counties is targeted at maintaining the production margins of potatoes among smallholder farmers.

Speaking during the launch of the three month long programme, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), said that the programme will shoulder 40 percent of the costs for the coming planting season.

“This programme aimes at the vulnerable farmers, considering the rise in the cost of living that affected the costs of many commodities and especially farming inputs.

“We will be using an e-voucher service to connect all the registered farmers to dealers nearest to them, so as to access the products easily and keep the cost of transport low as well,” Munya said.

Munya noted that the subsidies will come in handy to boost the ongoing programme by the County Government that is already benefiting 70, 000 farmers across the County.

While regretting the high cost of farm inputs in the country occasioned by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the CS noted that the government was working round the clock to bring the prices down; including setting up livestock feed production factories.

“We are working on interventions to ensure that the prices of fertilizer come down. In the long run, we are working on how to put up a fertilizer factory in the country. We, however, lack phosphate deposits in the country, which is a raw material key for fertilizer production but we are encouraging factories to look for other resources to substitute imported fertilizers,” noted Munya.

Nyandarua Governor, Francis Kimemia, said that through the programme, the farmers would be using their phones to access the services.

“Using the bio-data we collected at the ward level, the farmers, as from next week, will start to receive their fertilizer consignments, through the voucher service in groups in their communities.

We also hope that the programme can be extended from the designated three months to six months, so that the farmers can be covered for two potato growing seasons,” he said.

Kimemia also noted that the partnership between the National and County Government in warehousing, research and setting up cooperatives will help stabilize the sector.

“The Irish potato is a strategic food and these reforms will allow farmers to reach international markets for better prices,” he noted.

The leaders promised to look into ways of bringing down the cost of basic commodities through eased production.

By Rahab Naimutie

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