Chelugui tells farmers to tap into European market deal

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Agricultural producers have been challenged to focus more on high-value cash crops to benefit from the trade agreements struck by the government with European countries.

Cooperatives Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the government signed a European Partnership agreement that brings together 27 European countries to open new opportunities for local agricultural producers to create wealth through foreign exchange.

“Following long engagements, we signed a powerful agreement between Kenya and 27 countries of Europe under the European partnership agreement. It will support many value chains, including coffee, tea, avocado, macadamia, and dairy produce, among others,” said Chelugui.

The CS revealed that the ministry is working with county governments to strengthen the cooperative movement to enable farmers to enhance high-quality production and aggregate produce to attract foreign markets.

“Kenya is the only country in Africa to have such a trade partnership with Europe. This will help expand earnings and build our economy, and we urge farmers to utilize the good environmental conditions to expand productivity,” he said.

He said the ministry will, on January 17, launch the presidential Sh4 billion fund in Uasin Gishu, which will enable coffee farmers across the country to access financial support to expand production.

“The fund will reach coffee farmers countrywide as advanced payment to support coffee productivity. Producers will be guided on how to access affordable credit,” said Chelugui, who challenged farmers in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia, Baringo and Western counties to expand coffee production.

The CS was speaking during the burial ceremony of the late Mathews Murgor in Moiben.

He was accompanied by Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, Uasin Gichu Governor Jonathan Bii, Moiben MP Phyllis Bartoo, Treasury Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo among others

Chelugui said the Treasury had released Sh1.5 billion to support the modernization of New Kenya Corporative Creameries (NKCC) to boost value addition and expand the market.

“We are encouraging dairy producers to improve the current annual production from 4.2 billion litres to 10.2 billion. We are focusing on markets in Europe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria and Algeria,” said Chelugui.

He announced that a task force chaired by Eric Korir had been constituted to revive of Moi University Savings and Cooperative Society (MUSCO) in Uasin Gishu County, which had suffered years of mismanagement.

Murkomen assured residents that infrastructure projects in the region would be completed.

“We will ensure that all development projects initiated are concluded,” he said.

Dr Kiptoo assured Kenyans that 2024, will be a much better year, saying programmes initiated last year to jump-start the economy will yield results.

“All is well, and 2024 will be a much better year. We went through a lot of challenges last year, but the programmes we have put in place will help restore our economy,” he said.

Nyakundi expressed confidence that President William Ruto’s administration will address the economic challenges facing the nation.

The late Murgor, 62, who served in different capacities in the civil service and unsuccessfully vied for Elgeiyo Marakwet senator, was a son of former MP William Murgor.

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