West Pokot County government has distributed maize seeds and fruit tree seedlings to farmers ahead of the long rains planting season, to boost agricultural production and enhance livelihoods.

West Pokot County government distributes maize seeds and fruit tree seedlings to farmers

The county allocated Sh60 million to procure 11,363 bales of seeds for distribution to 136,356 farmers across the county.

In Pokot Central, a total of 24,120 farmers are set to obtain 2,010 bales of maize seed, meanwhile, in Pokot South 10,440 farmers will be given 870 bales. Likewise, in Pokot North, 23,592 farmers are scheduled to receive 1,966 bales, and in West Pokot subcounty 43,680 farmers will profit from 3,640 bales.

At the same time, the county launched the distribution of 4,000 avocado and 3,000 mango seedlings to assist farmers who have already prepared their land for planting.

Speaking when he flagged off the subsidised maize seed and fruit tree seedlings at Makutano stadium in Kapenguria Constituency on Monday, West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin reiterated that his administration, through the Department of Agriculture and Irrigation, has taken measures to support famers by availing farm inputs in preparation for the planting season.

“As outlined in the Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) one of the key priority areas is to address food insecurity through interventions such as improving agricultural practices, enhancing water management systems, promoting diversification of livelihoods, and strengthening social safety nets,” Governor Kachapin said.

He said the seeds that were launched would later enhance around 10,908 hectares of maize farming, potentially resulting in 272,710 bags of maize and with a significant economic turnover of Sh681,775,000 million, which is more than ten times the cost of the seeds.

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“The high cost of agricultural production poses a challenge, but through this program, my administration aims to empower farmers to become self-reliant and focus on agricultural production, thus enhancing their well-being and ensuring food security for all,’’ governor Kachapin said.

The governor emphasized that the distribution of maize seeds and fruit seedlings aligns with the national Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformational Agenda (BETA), aimed at enhancing food production through improved agricultural productivity.

He highlighted the challenges farmers face in accessing high-quality fruit seedlings nursery adding that his administration has set up a fruit tree nursery capable of producing two million seedlings, including Avocado, Mango, coffee, and temperate fruit tree varieties, to provide farmers with the necessary seedlings for planting.

The governor pointed out that West Pokot County has been grappling with significant challenges due to the effects of climate change, leading to unpredictable rainfall patterns and recurrent droughts that have negatively impacted agricultural productivity.

He stressed that planting fruits trees will not only benefit individual farmers but also contribute to sustainable adaptation and environmental conservation.

Kachapin further said his administration has launched a vigorous campaign to promote the cultivation of avocado, mangoes, and other seedlings for food, income generation, job creation, and increasing tree cover.

He said doing this will contribute to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change and fostering the diversification of agricultural enterprises, ultimately enhancing farmers’ incomes throughout the year and building resilience.

The governor encouraged eligible households to take advantage of the county’s subsidy programme for maize seeds and fruit seedlings through farming.

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He expressed his appreciation to all farmers for their promptness in preparing their land and to the Kenya Seed company for timely seed supply.

Kachapin also acknowledged the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) for complying with the county’s request by supplying subsidised fertilizers to farmers on time.

West Pokot Deputy County Commissioner Wycliffe Munanda expressed his gratitude to the governor for providing maize seeds and fruit tree seedlings to farmers.

He acknowledged that the initiative would alleviate the hunger that the residents have been facing as a result of climate change and unpredictable rainfall patterns, and urged the residents to ensure they plant the maize seeds and fruit tree seedlings donated by the governor.

DCC Munanda further cautioned residents against selling the subsidized inputs they received adding they should instead cultivate the seeds in order to provide food for their families.

Esther Cherop, from the Kenya Seed Company assured farmers that the seeds that the governor distributed are certified and are of good quality.

Gilbert Rotich, the Regional Manager, National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), emphasized that the government’s initiative to subsidize fertilizer is a tangible reality.

He acknowledged that there had been supply challenges in the past three weeks, but assured farmers in the region that the national government has resolved the issues related to fertilizer sales and farmers can now rest assured that they will not encounter such problems in the future

Rotich pointed out that the national government in collaboration with the county government have agreed to open more subsidised fertilizer buying centres in the region to ease congestion witnessed at the County NCPB main depot in Kapenguria town.

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By Anthony Melly and Erickson Kiprotich

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