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State introduces palm oil in Western

Updated Tuesday, November 24th 2009 at 00:00 GMT +3

The Government has launched a Sh10 million campaign to plant over 100,000 palm oil trees in Western Province.

This is aimed at diversifying cash-crop farming since most residents have been over-relying on sugarcane production for their livelihood.

The Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (Kari) in Kakamega and Alupe in Teso, is distributing the seedlings.

"The seedlings are being collected by MPs for distribution to farmers in their respective constituencies," said Provincial Director of Agriculture John Cheruiyot.

He said MPs Ben Washiali (Mumias), David Were (Matungu), Evans Akula (Khwisero) and Assistant Minister Manyala Keya (Lurambi) have already collected the seedlings.

Mr Cheruiyot was speaking in Khwisero District, on Monday, during a monitoring programme of the National Agricultural Livestock and Extension Project.

He said the Government is promoting planting of palm oil before a processing factory can be set up.

"It is upon farmers produce adequate raw material for the Government to lure investors to establish a processing plant," he said.

Mr Keya said he was determined to lure farmers to give palm oil farming priority.

He said he was ready to allocate more funds from the Constituency Development Fund to promote the crop.

Mr Washiali, who is also a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, said: "Despite the fact that sugar millers have increased payment to farmers, we still need to diversify farming."

Mumias Sugar Company is also involved in the promotion of palm oil farming. The company is studying viability of the crop in the sugarcane growing zones.

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