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West Pokot’s roadmap to food security

THE COUNTIES
By Munene Kamau | August 16th 2015

West Pokot County has acquired five tractors and farm implements worth Sh34 million to improve production and end decades of over-reliance on relief food.

Speaking after launching the tractors outside his office in Kapenguria, Governor Simon Kachapin said the tractors would help reduce high costs incurred by farmers.

Kachapin said farmers in the county depended on hired tractors from neighbouring counties.

“For the past five years, farmers in this region have not been reaping huge profits from farming since they hire tractors from Narok, Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties,” he said.

The county boss said the tractors will plough for farmers at a subsidised rate to help ease food insecurity.

“This county has been depending on relief food for many decades and my government is now fully committed to ensure that coming years this region has enough food,” he said.

County Executive in charge of Agriculture Wilfred Longuronyang said the sector contributes almost 90 per cent of the county’s economy.

Governor Simon Kachapin flags off one of the tractors. He said that for the past five years, farmers in this region have not been reaping huge profits from farming since they hire tractors from Narok, Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Longuronyang also disclosed that this year the ministry had increased land under irrigation by 1,000 acres. Last year, land under irrigation was 64,000 acres but this year it has increased to 65,000 acres.

He said the ministry had come up with regulations to manage the tractors and ensure there is no wastage of government resources.

“We have forwarded the regulations to the county assembly and we are waiting for approval,” he said.

The officer said the ministry had set aside 3,000 acres of land in various parts of the county for demonstration farms.

“Each ward has two demonstration plots where farmers learn new farming techniques to help reduce dependence on relief food,” he said. Longuronyang said that the ministry is committed to plant various crops during this rainy season to help avert the effects of drought late this year.

“The tractors are going to plough farms for farmers to plant pastures for their animals and also plan short season crops to sustain them during dry spell season,” he said.

Meanwhile, trade in Homa Bay is expected to grow following the construction of a new road at a cost of Sh693 million.

The Kadongo- Gendia connects to the strategic Kisii –Kitito road at Kadongo trading center in Kabondo Kasipul constituency and Kendu Bay-Oyugis road at Gendia in Karachuonyo constituency.

Homa Bay County Executive for Transport and Infrastructure Eliud Otieno, said construction of the road was proceeding well after its commencement mid last month..

“Construction of Kadongo -Gendia is expected to be complete in the next eight months and we are optimistic our contractors are going to deliver,” said Otieno.

Residents say completion of the road will enhance easy transportation of fish from Lake Victoria to the neighbouring Kisii, Kericho and Nyamira counties.

“This road will also enable us to sell fish easily and buy agricultural produce from Kasipul Kabondo constituency and the counties it boarders,” said Jane Auma, a fish monger in Kendu Bay town.

Construction of the road sparked controversy when an American company contracted to do the job had its work terminated.

According to Otieno, the American construction company failed to deliver eight months after being awarded the tender.

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