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The appalling poverty of small-scale farmers

County  governments have been urged to support small-scale farmers by introducing full packages of infrastructure, credit and marketing instead of just concentrating on farm input subsidies every year.

The Chairman of South Rift Farmers’ Association, Justus Monda said there was need to evaluate the continued appalling poverty in the rural areas despite small-scale farmers, who even in their daunting environment, still produce 80 per cent of the food consumed in the country.

Speaking on Wednesday during a press conference in Nakuru town, Monda said although agriculture was a devolved function, farmers’ challenges have not been addressed effectively, especially the lack of value addition, which compels them to sell at throwaway prices immediately they harvest due to fear of pests.

Monda said just providing subsidized seeds and fertilizer has not pulled the smallholder farmers from poverty because farming systems were complex and there was a need for support throughout the growing, harvesting and selling stages of production.

He added that a fully-fledged approach of helping farmers to identify what to grow, how to grow it, and what technology to use, when and where to sell and what price might be the solution for ending poverty in the rural areas.

‘’Right now, many of the small scale farmers are preparing their farms for the planting season, however, they are likely to repeat the same mistakes of past years because they continue doing what they know best without much assistance,’’ he said.

He added that the concept of soil deprivation and acidity has not been dealt with successfully, and that explains the unchanged poverty and undernourishment in rural areas.

He lamented that even the urban poor tend to eat and live better lives compared to smallholder farmers who are the producers of food consumed countrywide.

By  Veronica  Bosibori

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