The County Government of Uasin Gishu County has been singled out as one of the few administrations that has addressed challenges of access to quality seeds to farmers as a key component of both food security and improving the quality of agricultural exports.
Speaking during a courtesy call at Uasin Gishu county headquarters, KEPHIS chairman Mr. Robin Achoki noted Governor Jackson Mandago’s administration is the only county that has trained all ward agricultural officers on identification and development of certified crop seeds and seedlings.
Through the partnership with this administration, we have trained and registered a good number of farmers run tree and seed nurseries that supply passion fruits, citruses, avocados and Macadamia seedlings across the North Rift Valley”, Esther Kimani, KEPHIS Managing Director said.
Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno who, Wednesday, hosted the delegation on behalf of Governor Mandago said that the county government is keen to transform agriculture from food production to farming agro-production and export markets.
“We aim to change the narrative from being just a food basket to a cash basket result from export from agriculture”, Chemno said.
KEPHIS has pledged to work with Uasin Gishu county department of agriculture in the establishment of a certified seedling nursery for coffee, Macadamia, Avocado, Bananas and viable other cash crops at Agricultural Training Centre Chebororwa.
The nursery is expected to be able to sell certified seedlings to farmers by mid next year.
David Mwangi (Director Plant Protection Services) who represented the state department of agriculture paid special tribute to Mandago’s administration for the robust advocacy for diversification.
The state department is pleased to note that Mandago’s administration has managed to push cash crop farming by more than 100% of previous statistics”, Mwangi said.
In the last one year, the call for diversification has seen local farmers increase the acreage of coffee to over 2,00 acres, 1500 acres of avocados and a similar amount of other assorted cash crops.
County Executive for agriculture Silas Yego said that his department has partnered with departments of Agriculture in Murang’a and Nyandarua county with an aim of learning from each other, exchanging skills and experiences in cash crop farming. Yego is targeting to have one million coffee trees and a similar number of Macadamia and Avocado over the next 2 years.
We are currently planning for a farmers census. We wish to partner with KEPHIS so that we map out our farmers complete with their GPS locations, the number of certified nurseries and seed producers. These statistics will be key in strengthening Uasin Gishu’s agriculture value chain” Chief Officer Julius Rotich said.
As a result of the push towards diversification, the state department of agriculture has now marked Uasin Gishu County as the new frontier for cash crop farming and the fastest growing county in terms of agricultural exports.