By Orenge Wycliff
- Governor Paul Simba Arati held a meeting with leaders drawn from our 59 coffee cooperative societies and thereafter, flagged off the distribution of over 39, 000 coffee seedlings to the societies in the county.
- He urged the leaders to effectively manage the societies, terming them the only inheritance that they will pass down to the next generation.
Governor Paul Simba Arati held a meeting with leaders drawn from our 59 coffee cooperative societies and thereafter, flagged off the distribution of over 39, 000 coffee seedlings to the societies in the county.
The governor said his administration through the department of Agriculture has set up coffee production and demonstration plots in the 59 coffee factories and each factory will receive 600 seedlings for the demonstration plots.
“Through the demonstration plots, coffee farmers will be trained on good agricultural practices and income generation in order for them to offset some of the society expenses. This is one of the strategies my Government is using to revitalize the coffee sub-sector,” said governor Simba.
He said his administration has recognized that agriculture is the key driver for economic growth and hence crafted strategies aimed at enhancing agricultural production with focus on agribusiness and agro-processing.
“Farming is the economic mainstay for Kisii County and despite our farmers having small land holdings amid other challenges, we are known all over the world for our blue mountain coffee and other crops,” he said.
In the last financial year, coffee farmers took home over Ksh. 350 million from coffee which is one of the major cash crops and the governor vowed to closely work with the farmers to ensure that the earnings increase through enhanced crop production.
He said the department of Agriculture led by the County Executive Committee member (CEC) Elijah Obwori has placed more emphasis on the agriculture sector in terms of allocation of coffee development funds besides engaging various investors on investment opportunities in the sector.
Kisii county Governor Paul Simba Arati alongside other leaders drawn from 59 coffee corperative societies Pose for a Photo after a successful engagement with them. He flagged off 39,000 coffee plant seedlings to the farmers in his efforts to reignite coffee farming in the Region. Photo | Simba Arati Facebook.
Simba expressed his desire to find alternative ways of marketing the products, besides the traditional marketing channels that have been used over the years that only benefits middlemen.
He urged the leaders to effectively manage the societies, terming them the only inheritance that they will pass down to the next generation.
He outlined challenges facing coffee farmers including limited registered nurseries to supply seedlings, low production levels, low use of farm inputs such as fertilizers and agrochemicals, dilapidated and inefficient equipment in the factory delayed payments, limited value addition and branding and pests and diseases
“To address the aforementioned challenges, the County Government is collaborating with our partners and collaborators at both County, International and National level in enhancing productivity, value addition and marketing.
Some of these partners are Kenya Climate Innovation Centre (KCIC), Boka EATS, Avofresh, Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), Kisii University, KARLO Kisii, Gusii Union, Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) and National Agriculture and Rural Inclusion Growth Project (NARIGP),” he said.
He announced that the National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP), the project that is replacing NARIGP, has taken on board coffee as one of the value chains to be supported.
He also noted that the Cooperative Movement in the County has continued to grow recording remarkable economic growth. Membership has grown to over 400,000, with a share capital of over Kshs. 2 billion and turnover of more than Kshs. 10 billion.
“I call upon our farmers to leverage on cooperatives and take advantage of available credit facilities at County and National Government level to secure funding for agribusiness initiatives,” said Simba.
The coffee Farmers now have a role to play in ensuring that the crop does not go extinct in the region since it is one of the most important crops with a legacy in the region. Among other crops that the governor has vowed to bring back into life in the region is the pyrethrum and has already with the help of His Deputy Dr. Robert Monda laid down nursery beds for the seedlings which will be distributed to various locations in the region to cushion the farmer’s efforts of restoring them.