Bungoma among counties earmarked to ensure national food security
Bungoma is among five counties selected by the national government to ensure National Food Security due to its agriculturally conducive soils and weather.
Addressing farmers at Mabanga Agricultural Training Centre on Tuesday, Agriculture Principal Secretary (PS), Richard Lesiyampe said that Bungoma, which receives adequate rainfall and had fertile soils, was very capable of feeding its own as well as Kenyans from areas that are rain starved.
Lesiyampe said that the national government was set to support the county this planting season by providing farmers with adequate supplies of farm input to increase maize production.
The aim is to increase maize production from last year’s 37 million bags to 57 million bags.
“We have placed Bungoma among the five counties that are to feed this nation. 55 million bags of maize are adequate to feed this country and we are going to give full support to farmers in the five counties so that we meet our target production projection,” said Lesiyampe.
He added that the national government had already released 98,000 bags of subsidized fertilizer to Bungoma with plans to add 50,000 extra bags to meet demand.
Lesiyampe directed the County Commissioner and ministry of Agriculture officials to ensure that distribution of the subsidized fertilizer to deserving farmers was fair.
He called on farmers to report any public servant who will be found diverting the subsidized fertilizer whose distribution starts on Monday the 12th so that he/she faces the full wrath of the law.
Lesiyampe assured Bungoma farmers that he was going to ensure National Cereals and Produce Board depots are open by August to allow farmers take their produce on time
Speaking at the same event, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) in charge of Agriculture, Andrew Tuimur said the price of a bag of maize had also gone up hence their efforts would not be in vain.
“We came to agree on how to work together with you farmers to increase food production to about 57 million bags. We have also raised the price of a 90 kg bag of maize to sh.3200 to bar the cartels who normally buy from you at a throw away price,” said Tuimor.
Tuimur said that the national government had set aside sh.300 million to control army worms, and that they were sending a team to Brazil which has been able to control army worms for bench marking.
The Bungoma governor, Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati asked the national government to subsidize fertilizer further in the next financial year to around sh.1, 000 per bag so that more vulnerable farmers can be able to purchase.
He said the county was also exploring investing in a milling factory for value addition and to creation of jobs.
Wangamati said that plans were underway by the county government to establish a new milk processing plant to beef up Kitinda dairy that is currently processing 2000 litres of milk per day.
The Bungoma county agriculture executive, Mathews Wanjala asked the PS to consider investing in a potato seed multiplication centre in Mt Elgon to increase irish potato production in the region.
By Roseland Lumwamu