Kilifi farmers to start cocoa farming after successfully feasibility study

The county has launched a project to introduce cocoa farming in the region [Picture Courtesy]
A feasibility study conducted by the Kenya Agricultural Research Organisation (Kalro) and Kilimo Sasa Fund found that the region's soils and weather can accommodate the cash crop.

Speaking yesterday during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Kilimo Sasa Fund (KSF) and the Community Agriculture Resources Development Program (CARDEP), Governor Amason Kingi said the cocoa farming project would transform the livelihoods of local farmers.

The project, dubbed Cocoa for New and Sustainable Livelihoods (Consul), comes at a time the county is seeking an alternative cash crop to substitute cashew nuts.

Revenue source

According to Mr Kingi, cocoa will be the next big source of revenue for the county.

"This project is going to diversify the way we do our agriculture; farming in Kilifi is mainly subsistence, but this programme would see farmers producing cocoa for commercial purposes," he said.

The County's Agriculture Executive Luciana Sansua said 99,000 farmers in Kilifi South, Kilifi North and Malindi sub-counties would be targeted for the pilot phase of the project.

“The cost of investment will depend on how it is embraced by farmers,” said Ms Sansua.

If successful, the county plans to set up a cocoa processing plant in the area.

Kilimo Sasa Fund Executive Officer Gary Stubley said that the fund would develop a cocoa seed variety that will rival other cocoa producing regions in the world.

Mr Stubley said that cocoa remains profitable in the world market.

“This is without a doubt a very sustainable product that you can inter-crop with other cash crops and can mature within two and a half years,” he said.

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Kenya Agricultural Research OrganisationKilimo Sasa Fund found