Programme helps improve agriculture

The Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) has spent more than Sh.19.36 Million since 2013 to improve farming activities in Trans Nzoia.

During the period under review, a total of 17 farmers’ cooperative societies have been formed which has seen increased productivity and marketing of farm products.

The cooperative societies which are fully operational are engaged in Maize, Chicken and Dairy value chains identified as the most lucrative areas with maximum yields to farmers.

Speaking to KNA in his office, ASDSP Value Chain Development Specialist Officer in charge of Trans Nzoia, Esbon Agira said that most farmers in the county have been linked to markets where they sell their produce.

He said that for the four years under operation, production of milk has increased from four litres to eight litres per cow while its price shot up from Sh. 25 to Sh. 33 per litre.

We managed to reduce milk spoilage from 20 per cent to at least five percent by linking the farmers to the county government to obtain milk coolant plants for preservation, he said.

He noted that previously, farmers in Trans Nzoia were getting low production, lacked knowledge and skills on best farming practices and had weak organizations and that they were finding challenges of access to inputs which were also expensive for them.

The project which acted as a funding project to the three identified value chains namely maize farming, dairy and indigenous chicken rearing funded nine proposals of value chain actors who helped in solving the challenges facing farmers in the county.

Among the projects the programme initiated include establishing maize storage facilities that helped reduce post-harvest losses of maize from 30 percent to less than 10 percent.

Also included in post harvest measures are efforts that helped to keep at bay weevils where farmers were introduced to gunny bags that are air tight.

Agira said that as a long-term measure, the project has been linking farmers to the market and training them on the best farming practices.

He said that those in the dairy sector have been linked to the New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (NKCC) and the Brookside dairy and to financial market providers that has helped them improve their yields.

The Value chain officer assured farmers that in phase two of the program, most of the challenges facing farmers will be addressed fully.

Source: Kenya News Agency