By Michael Oduor
At least 18,000 acres of land in Mboghoni Ward, Taveta Sub-county in Taita Taveta County are set to be opened up for both large and medium scale farming to increase food basket towards promotion of nutrition and food security in the region.
Speaking while on an assessment tour in the area, Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime pledged to increase food basket towards promotion of nutrition and food security in the area.
Despite the drought experienced in most parts of the county, the land in Mboghoni area has excess water which hinders farmers from exploring the agriculture production potential, and are now calling on leaders intervention to help remove the excess waters to open more land for agricultural production.
Governor Mwadime assured that his administration will work around the clock to address the plight of farmers adding that ravaging effects of climate change can only be reversed if farmers embark on serious food production.
“Embarking on farming and food production by farmers is the only way we can reverse the effects of climate change witnessed in our county. My administration will work around the clock to ensure that your plight is fulfilled,” said the Governor.
He reiterated the need for collaboration between his office and the legislative arm in ensuring adequate funds are set aside to open up canals and empowering farmers in bid to shield them from exploitation as well as creating a conducive environment for investors in the county.
“We have no option but to ensure farmers get enough crop yield to feed the entire county and our neighbors if possible. I have directed the department in charge to liaise with relevant stakeholders to ensure we get the machinery needed for opening up the acreage as you’ve requested,” he said.
According to the Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Executive Committee Member Erickson Kyongo, apart from boosting food production, opening up of farms in the area will also create employment to youths and women as well as acquiring finance for their development.
“Opening up of farms will, apart from boosting the county’s food basket, create employment to youths and women in Taveta sub county. This means those in need of fees and other financial support will not depend on the government but have enough cash to support themselves,” said Kyogo.
He added that his office will source for more partners to help open up a rice milling factory in the area as cases of farmers exploitation by middle-men continue to surge leading to losses.
On his part, the area Member of County Assembly Khalifa Taraya, acknowledged the county executive for heeding to their call adding that as legislators they will offer the support needed to promote the agriculture value chain.
Earlier on, Governor Mwadime led the issuance of pasture seeds in Mbololo ward in Voi Sub-county where over 1,500 farmers are set to benefit from the Livestock Feed Commercialization Project (LFCP).
58 farmer groups will receive 14 Tons of Pasture seeds which includes 10.4 tons of lowland pasture seeds ; African Fox tail, Maasai Love grass, cowpeas and nutrified and 3.6 tons of highland pasture seeds; Sugar-graze and Boma Rhodes which is approximated to plant close to 2,832 acres.
The Food Agriculture Organisation – Kenya funded project through the support of Mastercard Foundation is being undertaken in collaboration with Taita Taveta County Government and aims at supporting livestock farmers to commercialize pasture production.
Under the LFCPP project, FAO – Kenya will support pasture production commercialization through coaching and mentoring of viable business cases in the county.
FAO – Kenya in partnership with SNV Netherlands will also support the county to develop the County Livestock Feed Strategy that will create the roadmap for investment in the Livestock Feed value chain.