County distributes dairy cows worth Ksh 13 million

One of the heifers distributed by the County to farmers at Moiben Kuserwo ward, Marakwet West

Elgeyo Marakwet County has distributed more than 260 heifers to farmers across the county in a bid to increase milk production.

The dairy cows worth Ksh13 million purchased through the Equitable Development Act (EDA), have benefited farmers from Moiben Kuserwo in marakwet West Sub County who received 198 heifers, Sambirir in Marakwet East 30, Embobut 25 and Endo eight.

The pilot project which will be expected to be implemented across the County is targeting the dairy sector to ensure that more milk is produced in the County.

The Act ensures that 60 per cent of the development funds are distributed equally to the wards and the remaining 40 per cent goes to the flagship projects as per the County Integrated Development plan (CIDP).

Farmers from Moiben Kuserwo benefitted from 198 heifers, Embobut 25, Sambirir 30 and Endo eight.

Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich while speaking during the launch of the program said upon its success, project the project will be replicated in other wards across the county.

 He said: “This project will directly benefit individual families. Those who have been given cows can now make money. In the next 10 months we should see the benefits of these heifers.”

The cows upon calving are expected to produce an average of 15 litres of milk per day which will translate to about Ksh 18,000 monthly. “This will be enough to send a student to secondary school and fundraising for school fees will be a thing of the past,” added the Deputy Governor.

He urged the farmers to take care of the cows and ensure that they are not driven into the forest for grazing.

Already, a 5000 litre cooling plant has been installed in Cheptongei which will also act as a milk collection centre. The County has also set up a milk processing plant in Metkei which has a capacity of processing 500 litres per hour.

The County has also invested in breeding the best dairy cows by subsidising sexed semen which will be sold to farmers at the cost of Kshs 500 instead of Ksh 6,000 market price and normal semen at ksh 200.

Moiben Kuserwo Member of County Assembly Thomas Kimunei thanked the residents for allocating funds to the project during public participation. “We hope this will turn around the economy of the area,” he said “we are piloting and if all go well, every household in Moiben Kuserwo will have a dairy cow.

Farmers benefit from County subsidy

Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich distributes tea seedlings in Moiben Kuserwo Ward.

Farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet will benefit from a Ksh 16 million County subsidy program aimed at improving food production and generating income to the residents.

Already more than a million seedlings of tea, 200,000 coffee seedlings and about 50,000 avocado seedlings have been distributed across the county under.

Governor Alex Tolgos said the County government will support farmers willing to venture into horticulture and dairy farming owing to its profitability compared to maize farming which has seen its earnings dwindle over the years.

The Governor also asked residents in the county to venture into growing macadamia trees because of its nuts rising global demand.

“We urge every family to grow at least five trees of macadamia trees. From our calculations, we have established that after three years, a farmer can earn about Ksh 15,000 thousand from one tree.That translates to Ksh 75,000 a year from the five trees,” he said.

He said with the help of development partners, the county targets to have farmers grow more than 100,000 trees of macadamia this year. The County is partnering with Slovak government and TenSenses who will provide seeds and market for the produce respectively.

Farmers from Kokwao Cooperative Society are among the beneficiaries of the project where over 30 tonnes of seeds have also been distributed to farmers across the county. Last week, the county distributed tomato seeds to the cooperative of more than 500 members in Emsoo Ward, Keiyo North Sub County.

Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich during the exercise urged farmers to join cooperatives so that they could benefit collectively through the sale of their produce by ridding out brokers. Cooperative chair Mathew Kwambai thanked the County Government for the support.

“We are glad we received more than 800 sachets of tomato seeds and 11 knapsacked sprayers. I promise that our members will deliver,” he said.

The county also offered subsidised Artificial Insemination (AI) which has seen more than 19,000 inseminations with success rate of over 80 percent achieved.

County threatens to shut down bars over non-compliance

An assortment of wines and spirits drinks confiscated from a drinking joint during a past crackdown by police

The Elgeyo Marakwet county government has threatened to shut down bars in Soy North in Kerio valley over non-compliance to Alcoholic drinks regulations.

Governor Alex Tolgos warned that bars, particularly at Emsea and Chepsigot trading centres flouted regulations and were operational 24 Hours threatening the social-economic development of the region.

The bars, according to the Governor were only selling hard drinks and had ruined young people who should have been productive considering the agricultural potential of the region and business opportunities. 

“If you want us to help you arrest this problem, raise the matter to us and you will see the difference. There is no way that we can have people camping in drinking dens idling and engaging in alcoholism throughout the day,” said Tolgos while addressing a public baraza in Kapsoo village in Keiyo South.

The owners of the bars in majority of the trading centres across the area were all strangers begging the question why they were scrambling for premises to put up drinking dens alone instead of other decent businesses, noted Mr. Tolgos.

Interestingly, some drunkards in the area were telephoning the Governor at night once inebriated and asking him to help them close down the bars.

“Walevi sehemu hii wananipigia simu usiku kujishtaki na kusema niwasaidie kufunga baa ju pombe imewamaliza na kuwafanya kuwa  fukara.  Wacha niwaibie siri leo, Kama hamtaki pombe ama hiyo tabia ya vijana kulewa katika vituo vya biashara kwenu, jaribu kushika tu matawi na iwapo nitapata fununu kwamba raia wanataka  kuandamana dhidi ya pombe, nitafika mara moja na mtaona tukifunga baa zote,”

Meaning: “Let me give you a secret today, if alcoholism has become nuisance in your neighbourhood and you want us to help you to bring it to an end, just plan to stage a public protest and the moment I get wind of the protest, you will see us swing into action even before you do it, “said the Governor amid applauses from the crowd.

The Governor challenged unemployed youth in the area to form groups and register companies through which they could apply for business tenders, promising that his government would give them priority.

“This is one of the ways you can transform yourselves economically and redeem yourselves from poverty instead of engaging in alcoholism,” advised Tolgos.

The Governor who was on sensitization baraza about soil conservation in the region was accompanied by his deputy Wisely Rotich, Agriculture Executive Shadrack Yatich among other county officials.

Embrace Soil Conservation: Governor Tolgos Urges Residents

Governor Tolgos at Teimuge's demonstration farm in Kapsoo, Soy North Ward

Farmers living along the escarpments in Elgeyo Marakwet County have been urged to practice soil conservation in order to combat soil erosion.

Speaking during a public baraza in Soy North in Kerio valley, Governor Alex Tolgos said the rains that continue pounding the area have regrettably resulted into death of one person in Rimoi, destruction of roads and soil erosions in farms.

The meeting was held to sensitize farmers on ways of combating soil erosion in the wake of the ongoing rains that have left behind trail of destruction.

According to the Governor, his government was liaising with the office of the county commissioner with a view to addressing any emergencies caused by the rains across the county. 

He said: “We are urging the residents living in landslide prone areas to move to safer grounds to avert any possible loss of lives. At the same time, we have also provided to the general public an emergency helpline to report any incident to telephone no. 0704 220 220," 

The County boss challenged local farmers to desist from carrying out illegal farming practices along the precarious escarpments.

"If there is any kind of support that I will require from the national government, is to help me apprehend people carrying out illegal farming in the dangerous escarpments. The people doing illegal farming are not aware of the consequences they are courting," said Tolgos.

During the baraza, the Governor led a delegation of County officials to demonstration farms where two farmers _ Mr. Samuel Teimuge and Edward Wafula have embraced use of grass known as Vetiver to manage soil erosion.

"The use of vetiver has indeed proved to effectively combat the erosions that are synonymous with the escarpments. These two farmers should be emulated by everyone in this region,” said Tolgos.

Vetiver is a tall perennial grass (Vetiveria zizanioides) of southeastern Asia cultivated in warm regions especially for its fragrant roots which are used especially in woven goods (such as mats) and in perfumes.

"We appeal to the residents along the escarpments to emulate the two famers and heed the directives of department of Agriculture in carrying out better agricultural practices to manage erosions," said Tolgos at Teimuge's farm in Kapsoo. 

The Governor was accompanied by Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich and Agriculture Executive Shadrack Yatich among others.

Mr. Rotich however said the region has huge agricultural potential because of favourable climatic conditions for Agriculture but soil erosion was a threat.

Governor Tolgos also launched Kabob water project in Emsea which is undertaken alongside Miti moja water project in Cheptebo at a cumulative cost of Sh.5.7 million.

Farmers asked to venture into macadamia farming

Slovak Ambassador to Kenya Mr Frantisek Dlhopolcek, Governot Alex Tolgos and TenSenses CEO Mr Francis Omondi during a macadamia farm visit in Cheptongei, Marakwet West Subcounty

Farmers in Elgeyo Marakwet have been urged to embrace macadamia farming in the county because they are profitable in local and international market.