Siaya Governor Cornel Amoth Rasanga met Turkish investors who have expressed interest in investing in the agricultural sector in the County.
The investors led by Ebuberkir Sakinmaz are interested in establishing a sunflower oil factory that will contract 30,000 farmers based in the county to engage in sunflower farming.
In Kenya sunflower is typically grown in regions such as Bungoma, Homa-Bay, Kakamega, which are relatively near Siaya and share the same climatic conditions, and further away in Meru, Kajiado and parts of North Rift and the Coastal Region. Sunflowers will essentially thrive where maize and beans are grown, crops that are dominant in Siaya.
Sunflowers tend to grow quickly in the right conditions and can achieve heights of up to 12 feet of growth in only 3 months. With the proper climate and soil, sunflowers should reach maturity in 70 to 100 days after planting which is about the same time most varieties of maize take, about 60 to 100 days.
The demand for healthier oils with no cholesterol and high nutrient value such as sunflower oil provides farmers in Siaya a potential cash cow should the venture be established in county.
Other areas that the investors have a keen interest in are production of animal feeds and organic fertilizers to assist farmers easily and cheaply access fertilizers with the initial demonstration farms earmarked for Gem and Alego-Usonga Sub counties.
By Calvin Otieno