West Pokot County government will spend over Sh. 22 million in the revival of cash crop farming in the area during the current financial year.
Speaking in Kapenguria when he distributed tea seedlings and pyrethrum splits to farmers, the area governor, John Lonyangapuo said his government is set to ensure that the county does not depend on relief food.
He said more money will be put into the agricultural sector to ensure food security.
This financial, year we have been able to revive tea, cotton, pyrethrum, sisal and coffee farming, and we will not stop here but continue reviving more, said Lonyangapuo.
The governor said the county has favorable climatic conditions for the production of the cash crops, saying farers will also be empowered to engage in the business, adding that allocating more funds to agriculture sector will enable farmers to fully engage in the practice.
The funds will enable the department to purchase more farm inputs like seeds and seedlings and will help farmers from various regions to engage in farming and help the county to be food secure, added the governor.
He said his government had embarked on free issuance of seedlings to farmers to encourage them to increase acreage, noting his government has already found market for the crops.
In low land areas, farmers will be able to plant sisal and cotton while in highland areas they will be able to plant coffee, tea and pyrethrum, he said.
The West Pokot County Director of Cash Crops, Cosmas Korir said they had approached various companies which will buy the produce directly from farmers.
Korir pointed out that pyrethrum from the area has been rated the best in the world because of its high content of pyrethrine.
We have engaged various companies who are ready to buy our produce. For example, we have 5 companies that are willing to buy our produce, since this region has been known for producing pyrethrum with the highest pyrethrine content in the world, he said.
He said the companies will be buying on a weekly basis, and that each of them will also sensitize the farmers on how to dry their produce for better quality.
He said they have already registered 1,700 farmers who have each been given 250 splits of pyrethrum.
Most of the pyrethrum farmers in the county had uprooted the crop and ventured in planting other crops after the Kenya Pyrethrum Board failed to pay after delivery.
One of the beneficiaries, James Lorikwan said he had lost hope in the crop after the cooperative society failed to pay him.
I will go back to farming pyrethrum since it used to be my favorite crop and I hope the county government will help us market the crop, where we will get our payments promptly after delivery, he said.
Pyrethrum growing in the county declined in the early 2000 as more farmers abandoned the crop due to non-payment, and ventured into other forms of crop production, including horticulture and dairy farming.
Tapach, Sondany, Sina, Lelan and Kameloi in Pokot South Sub County have favourable climatic conditions for pyrethrum growing, which are estimated to produce more than 40,000 tonnes annually.
A tea farmer, Longuronya Lopong’iro said he was the only farmer growing the crop in the area after others uprooted the crop due to lack of market.
I have been traveling over 100 kilometres to Kapsara tea factory in Trans- Nzoia County to delivery my produce, he said.
Lopong’iro expressed optimism that he would earn profits from the produce since costs of transportation will reduce when more farmers are recruited and are assisted to grow the crop.
Source: Kenya News Agency