3,000 Homa Bay cassava farmers to get free extension services
An NGO has started a project for offering free field extension services to 3,000 cassava farmers in Homa Bay county.
Self Help Africa has started the project to empower the farmers with knowledge on how to grow the crop.
Through a programme christened Cassava Value Chain, the organisation funded by the European Union has trained 15 extension officers referred to as plant doctors.
It has opened plant clinics where farmers can go to seek advice and extension services from the plant doctors.
Each of the eight sub-counties in Homa Bay has a plant clinic manned by the plant doctors.
The role of the plant doctors is to assess cassava plants and provide a remedy in case they have been infected by pests and diseases.
Homa Bay Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata and Self Help Africa Head of Programmes Clarice Kionge said the programme will improve the production of cassava which is susceptible to plant diseases.
Orata said the programme will revive the production of cassava which faces extinction in Homa Bay county.
He urged the farmers to venture into cassava production.
“Farmers should not be worried about cassava production because we now have plant doctors who will deal with the crop diseases,” said Orata.
He said cassava has a market due to its nutritional value and other industrial use.
“We have agreed with the European Union and Self Help Africa to fund construction of a cassava processing plant for value addition. The industry establishment will depend on the quantity of cassava produced,” Orata said.
He urged the organisation to increase the number of farmers from 3,000 to 8,000.
Kionge said the programme also focuses on access to the cassava market.
She said they had set up three aggregation centres where cassava value is done. The centres will process dry cassava chips which will be sold to flour processors in Nairobi.
“After the value addition, we link farmers to companies that can buy their products,” Kionge said.
The leaders spoke during the launch of the cassava clinic at a Homa Bay hotel.
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