Over 200,000 farmers in Homa Bay County are targeted for registration to benefit from government subsidised fertilisers.
Homa Bay County Commissioner Moses Lilan said all the National Government Administration Officials (NGAO) in the county were being trained and equipped with tablets for the smooth roll out of the exercise.
Speaking after launching the training exercise in Kabunde Social Hall in Homa Bay town, Lilan said that chiefs and their assistants are expected to spearhead the exercise and to enter the data collected into the digital gadgets.
“Before the information is entered into the system (Open Data Kit), the chiefs will first be required to put down the same data on paper (hard copy) to enhance accountability,” Lilan said.
He said the information collected from farmers will include their name, identity card number, location and the nearest trading centre and their farms acreage.
The administrator said the information in the Open Data Kit (ODK) will be transmitted to the national centre from where distribution of fertiliser will be controlled.
Lilan said the government has identified dealers who will be supplied with the subsidised fertilisers for onward distribution to farmers.
“The dealers will ensure the commodities reach the targeted people. Homa Bay has two depots that will serve as the entries of the fertilizers to the county,” Lilan said.
He said Homa Bay is an agricultural-rich county and urged farmers to take advantage of the subsidy to improve production.
According to Lilan, the new system will eradicate unscrupulous middlemen who blocked farmers from accessing fertiliser and other government programmes.
Homa Bay County Deputy Governor Oyugi Magwanga who is also the County Executive Member (CECM) for Agriculture said they welcome the programme as it will improve food production in the county.
He said the county has large tracts of land that can be put to use to help bridge the gap in addressing food shortage.
“We have already bought tractors which will help us in ploughing farms. I urge farmers to register so that they can benefit from the necessary inputs for higher production,” Magwanga said.
He said the county government recently opened a flour milling plant in Suba South constituency called Kigoto Maize Mill.
Magwanga said availability of the subsidised fertiliser will enable farmers to produce more maize and supply to the milling plant.
He added that over 20 agricultural extension officers had been deployed to Sub Counties to equip the farmers with modern farming methods, as an extra step towards higher yields.
“We’re going to provide farmers with certified seeds and hopefully we’ll increase maize production,” Magwanga said.
By Nicholas Otieno and Davis Langat