Food security plays a critical role in the growth of Kenya’s economy besides creating a healthy society.
Based on factors of production, Uasin Gishu County is working to assist in the country’s attainment of food security, more so meeting the nutritional aspect. This has been witnessed through how the County has prepared its farmers through various programs that aid in food production.
Looking at the production aspect, Uasin Gishu County produces an average of 4.5 million bags of maize annually, with a surplus of more than 2 million bags, thus indicating how the County is at the forefront of creating a food secure society.
Among the measures the County has taken in mitigating post-harvest losses by the farmers, the administration through the Department of Agriculture is in the process of constructing stores across the County, a move that will see farmers reduce after harvest losses by more than 30 percent.
According to Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno, Uasin Gishu is the second biggest producer of maize, after Trans Nzoia making the region rich in production which he says the Country should take advantage of the two Counties in providing food to its people.
Chemno also has another concrete advise.
As a County, we do not want our farmers to rely on maize alone as the source of food. We are going deep into diversification, cultivating high-value crops which are doing very well in our County’, says Chemno.
He continues to say:” We have introduced these crops with an aim of not only raising the livelihood of our people but also serving as a nutritional and dietary supplement. These foods will solve our food problems”.
On many occasions, Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago has called on farmers to take advantage of the dams his administration has established to practice irrigation and cultivate high-value crops. Findings have shown Uasin Gishu has good conditions for several short-term high-value crops.
As the world marks World Food Day, the county administration has intensified calls on diversification, a move believed to fix all the problems witnessed by farmers with regards to food shortage and also marketing their produce.
Speaking in Ngeria While officiating the global event, Chemno confirmed the County’s commitment to ensuring that every household has access to food round the calendar, through coming up with initiatives that favor them.
Chemno noted that the County is utilizing extension officers who will educate the farmers on diversification, helping them cultivate these crops which keep hunger at bay.
Chemno further said that the County has so far distributed more than 500,000 seedlings of high-value crops to farmers as a starter.
On his part, Executive in charge of Agriculture, Samwel Yego, called on farmers to venture into short term crops that will help them get money and be food secure.
Yego asked the farmers to utilize the County machinery and agricultural equipment that is available at the ward levels in order for them to adopt modern farming methods and systems. The County minister also asked growers to take advantage of the rains.
Other executives who rose to speak majored more on the aspect of diversification, Trade CEC Dr. Emily Kogos citing how her department is working on setting up a market for farmers produce that will favor them.
Finance CEC Julius Rutto asked farmers to dwell into agribusiness as a factor that will alleviate their livelihoods as well as serving as a way of boosting food security, sentiments echoed by environment counterpart Mary Njogu.
As a way of improving their productivity, OCP fertilizer Country Manager, Dan Okumu, said that the firm will work with the County in increasing production through solving the soil problem which to be among causes of low yield
Okumu said that the company will send specialists to Uasin Gishu to pick soil samples for testing and recommendations. The tests will inform what kind of manure will be supplied where.
The annual event saw many farmers attend, learning on various farming techniques which will help them better their farming skills.