The World Vision has distributed 30 tons of enriched beans to be planted along the Kerio Valley in Elgeyo Marakwet County to fight the high cases of stunted growth among children.
According to Mrs. Alice Yugi from World Vision, a baseline survey conducted in the county by the organization revealed that 29.9% of children in the county suffered from stunted growth which is above the national average of 26%.
Speaking at the governor’s office, Mrs. Yugi said the beans will not only be consumed by infants aged 1-5 years but also by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Joyce Malinga, a researcher from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) where the seed was developed said the beans have high levels of iron and zinc able to give at least 50% of the recommended daily proportions for human beings.
The researcher said the seed was produced naturally after a lengthy research, saying it was geared towards improving the nutrition status of mothers and children.
She said they were targeting to get 300,000 tons of the seed from the initial 30 tons which will be distributed to other farmers in 11 wards cutting across the Kerio Valley.
Governor Alex Tolgos said he hoped that the wards targeted will allocate funds for the project to ensure its sustainability.
Tolgos said the beans will also increase farmer’s earnings, saying a 90kg bag goes for sh.8, 000. “Our farmers will now have an opportunity to diversify their farming activities as over reliance on maize farming has led to increased poverty levels,” he said.
He said while the county is food secure especially in the highlands, residents do not eat a balanced diet thus resulting in challenges affecting their health.
By Alice Wanjiru