Vegetable farmers anticipate economic boom after schools reopening
As many Kenyans worry about adherence to social distancing which is a Ministry of Health protocol against spread of Coronavirus in the just reopened learning institutions in the country, a section of vegetable farmers in Kisii county have a reason to smile as the reopening translates into a ready market for their produce.
The vegetable farmers in Nyamache Sub County, Kisii County says they are overjoyed by the schools’ reopening because they can now supply their sukuma wiki and cabbages and generate income after a tough period from March last year when the government abruptly closed schools in response to Covid19 global pandemic, disrupting schooling of 17million learners countywide.
Isaiah Arori from Inani village, Gionseri Sublocation in Masige west ward who says his religious supply of kale (sukuma wiki) to learning institutions for over 13 years came to an unexpected halt expressed joy after receiving orders from various institutions to supply Sukuma wiki (kales).
Arori says he previously earned over sh. 50,000 per month after supplying the product to various institutions in the County including Sameta, Riokindo and Magena Boys’ high schools but was forced to sell his motorbike which he used to ferry the product on in order to settle his debts after the institutions closed.
However, Arori says he has now been forced to lease more land and buy the produce from other farmers in order to meet the rising demand as more schools request for his crop. He says he has stopped crying foul over creditors who had not given him peace demanding clearance of his debts.
The father of three appealed to the government to hasten in soliciting and administering the covid19 vaccine to Kenyans in order to prevent impact of the disease which could lead to further closure of the learning institutions, and release capitation funds to the institutions so that they can be able to pay suppliers on time.
Lorna Mokaya applauded the government for reopening the schools saying those contracted to supply vegetables in learning institutions were already buying from them hence enabling them to earn a living including getting school fees for their own children.
She says many Farmers who had abandoned their vegetable gardens had resumed production due to rising demand.
Thomas Mocheche, cabbages farmer, says he was forced to do mixed cropping to maximize benefits including mixing cabbage crop with beans but will now resume to cabbage and Sukuma wiki production because it gave better returns owing to demand by schools especially for children who have health complications that require them to consume cabbages.
Mocheche says he was looking forward to earning at least Ksh,60,000 every season from his small farm.
This comes even as Health Permanent Secretary Susan Mochache noted that many learners in the county were yet to return to school after the institutions were opened last week.
Among those at home are children of the parents who died of the viral disease which has already killed more than 1600 people across the country.
Mochache who led a team of senior government officials to the county late last week assured that all relevant agencies had been informed to do a follow up on those missing so that they can resume learning.
She had noted that covid 19 challenges could be minimized if schools put proper structures in place, enough water points for washing hands and ensure the learners put on their masks to minimize infections.
Kisii County has so far reported over 1007 covid19 cases accounting for10.3% of all cases in Kenya.