- Nakuru County is one of the biggest producers of maize. However, unfavourable weather this season has seen many farmers record poor harvest.
- Our strategy is to provide quality planting materials to help revive the sector. There are 17 farmers who have been provided with pyrethrum splits to bulk. They are growing them on 82 acres. The planting materials will then be distributed to other farmers next year.
- We have identified areas for investment in value addition and they include processing of potatoes into crisps and frozen chips and having cold storage facilities in the production areas to stabilise supply.
How is the county prepared to deal with the looming maize shortage following poor harvest?
Our annual maize production is usually 2.7 million 90kg bags, but this year, we will get about half. The national government has been informed of the situation and if necessary, relief food will be provided to the needy from the strategic reserves.
As a county government, we are working closely with crucial stakeholders such as Kenya Agriculture, Livestock Organisation, Njoro and others such as Self Help Africa to provide clean planting material to farmers next season.
We are also in the process of acquiring tissue culture bananas from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to start a campaign on banana production. The county has also maintained free trade policy with other counties and countries, and already we have started receiving maize from Trans Mara in Narok County and Uganda.
Devolution is taking root, but are farmers in this county reaping the fruits?
We have provided farm inputs to close to 11,000 maize farmers since 2013. We have also issued pyrethrum farmers with planting materials, and this has seen a tremendous increase in acreage from 442ha in 2013 to 943ha presently.
The county has also launched Nakuru Agriculture Training Centre where farmers are trained on the latest techniques, including on value addition.
Many pyrethrum farmers nostalgically remember the good old days, when the crop was a top earner. Any chance of taking them back there?