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Overreliance on imports affects economic growth

Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi has blamed the economic meltdown witnessed in the country on overreliance on imports.

Cheboi made the observation during the launch and distribution of subsidized coffee seedlings worth Sh5 million at the Baringo Cha Coffee Mill grounds in Katimok, Baringo North Sub County, on Tuesday.

The county boss, whose administration has teamed up with a Korean partner, World Best Friends, in coffee production and linkages to international markets, stated that in order to boost the economy, all stakeholders should support the efforts of both the national and county governments as well as development partners by promoting agriculture as an avenue for turning around the economy.

Cheboi, flanked by his deputy Engineer Felix Kimaiyo and County Secretary Jacob Chepkwony, said farmers should focus on cash crops like coffee, macadamia, mangoes, and pyrethrum, among other lucrative crops, for export to foreign markets so that the country can benefit from foreign exchange.

Cheboi said the county administration is supporting farmers through their Saccos by providing opportunities for aggregation, which, apart from discouraging middlemen, also secures international markets and in turn makes them reap better returns.

He said that plans are underway to produce more and add value before selling to overseas countries that require Kenyan agricultural products.

World Best Friends Chairman Rev. Cha Boyong said Baringo is blessed to have fertile land, which farmers can greatly benefit from if they take a keen interest in extensive agriculture.

He encouraged farmers to make good use of the two-year-old Sh100 million coffee mill in the area, which supports farmers through the exportation of their coffee to South Korea and, in turn, improves their livelihoods.

The drive, which seeks to support local farmers in the distribution of more than 500,000 subsidized coffee seedlings, is aimed at ensuring that the crop’s potential areas in the county benefit from high-quality seedlings.

The program also aims at enhancing the sustainability of the factory, which has a capacity to mill 10 tonnes daily but did not realize its potential during its first year of operation as farmers only produced 90 tonnes.

By Benson Kelio

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