The Embu County government plans to use its share of the Sh1 billion miraa kitty from the national government to provide alternative crop seedlings to farmers in the semi-arid Mbeere region.
Governor Martin Wambora on Saturday said this will diversify farming and reduce over-reliance on the stimulant. Many farmers in Mbeere have taken to farming of the popular and lucrative khat variety called muguka, but whose key market of Coast region faces challenges.
Speaking on a local radio station, Wambora said an alternative crop equally profitable to muguka would ensure farmers have a fall back in case the khat market dips.
The governor said since the stimulant is the economic mainstay of many families in Mbeere, the county would utilise part of the expected Sh300 million from the miraa kitty to construct earth dams to provide irrigation water and support khat’s marketing structures.
“We will use some of the money to avail macadamia and hass avocado seedlings to farmers. That way, their farming would be diversified and sustainable. This will also create more job opportunities in the crops value addition chain," he said.
"We already issued 5,000 macadamia seedlings at discounted rates to farmers in those regions during the last planting season.”
The county issued Murang’a 20 and Embu 1 varieties which are expected to do well in Mbeere.