By Gondwana Nandwa and Jarius Masakhwe
About 3500 farmers received a total kshs 21million in grants to boost food production in the last three years in Butere district. The local District Agriculture Officer Newton Odari said they got farm inputs which included satisfied seeds, DAP and CAN fertilizers through the National Accelerated Agricultural Inputs Access Project (NAAIAP).
Odari added that about 19 groups have also received funding ranging between kshs 120000 to 150000 from Njaa Marufuku Kenya to develop and sustain goat rearing, beekeeping and local vegetables.The DAO was addressing farmers during the World Food Day celebrations held at Jacob Omollo’s farm at Shibimbi village, Marama west location Lunza division where the ministry of Agriculture had a field day to mark the international event locally.He urged the farmers to emulate Israel and Egypt who have enough food for domestic use and export despite of their hard climatic conditions.“Grow enough food for your family and have surplus to venture into agro-business. There is high demand of food in the area and beyond to realize good returns for your hard work in the farms”. The DAO said.
The District Agribusiness Desk Officer Benson Manya also pointed out that farmers had earlier undergone training in crop husbandry, post harvesting handling, cereal banking and marketing to ensure there is no wastage of farm produce.
Meanwhile, Lunza Veterinary Officer Mr. Silvanus Miena advised dairy farmers in the area to invest in value addition and market their products to alleviate poverty. Mr. Miena said this would create strong financial boost in rural areas and empower communities economically. Speaking to The Skylight at the same function, he said poverty could only be eradicated through investments in all sectors of Agriculture. “We have available resources to produce enough for our people and dispose the surplus for income,” Says the officer.
The cost of artificial insemination, he said has been addressed adding the prices given to dairy farmers do not match with the cost of production. At the same time, he suggested that the Government facilitate farmers in processing the produce to allow them compete with the private processors that are already in market. He advised farmers to adopt and employ modern farm techniques for better production, saying the countries’ population derives their livelihood directly or indirectly from Agriculture. He expressed concern that Kenyans have over the years been relying on the Government to reduce poverty yet they have ability.”The modern technology should be introduced to farmers to improve quality production”, he added.