Turkana County is on the path to becoming a large-scale groundnut-producing county, thanks to a European Union funded project.
The initiative also ropes in humanitarian bodies and institutions of research and higher learning.
Under the programme the county envisages to put 2,500 acres of land by the end of this year under groundnut cultivation and progressively expand the acreage under production to 7,400 acres by 2025.
County Director for Agriculture Paul Lokone said in order to reach the 7,400 acres intended for the project across the county, irrigation schemes will have to set aside some portion of their land for groundnut farming.
He cited Nakwamoru and Elelea farms as examples from which encouraging results have been witnessed.
A total of 300 farmers are currently engaged in the program among them youth and women groups who have been trained and supplied with 14 tonnes of quality seed variety to kick start the programme.
Lokone added ‘the farmers’ recruitment to the program will also include sensitization on commercialization of groundnut farming and formation of cooperative societies as part of the production value chain.’
Speaking on behalf of the implementing partners, Mr Michael Ngutu from FAO said the partners are committed to supporting the implementation of the programme to its conclusion.
Mr Ngutu challenged farmers in Turkana to make the plan a success adding that both the local and international market for groundnuts was sufficiently lucrative and open to new entrants.
Turkana South Sub County Administrator Esther Lokitoe challenged women to take part in the program and use the skills and money gained to better their lives.
Other participants included representatives from Egerton University, World Food Program, UNHCR, Refugee Affairs Services and Insta Food Production Services representatives.
By Peter Gitonga