The County government of Elgeyo Marakwet has entered into partnership with a Consortium of International investors to promote contractual farming and stepping up value addition arrangements.
Governor Alex Tolgos hosted his former political rival in the gubernatorial race Mr Moses Changwony who led a delegation of the investors to the Governor on Saturday at his Iten Town County offices.
Speaking after signing a Memorandum of Understanding MOU to seal the deal with the investors, Tolgos said:"In the Spirit of embracing the famous Handshake with former political competitors, this is one of the fruits of the 'Handshake’ between myself and Mr Changwony that is going to benefit our people immensely,"
He said he shook hands with Mr Changwony after the heated 2017 politics and thereafter the two shelved their differences.
Since the Governor promised to support any idea that would offer solutions towards poverty eradication in the County and exploring wealth creation opportunities, the two leaders agreed to work together.
Mr Changwony said his team of investors was seeking serious farmers sensitization campaign in Elgeyo Marakwet to put about 12,000 acres of farmland under cultivation of cash crops promoted by the agency.
These crops include high value Tea, Coffee, Avocado, Macadamia, Mango and nuts.
"We are targeting at least 3,000 acres of land in every sub-county in Elgeyo Marakwet. Farms in this county particularly Kerio valley and the escarpments are known to be the best areas where these crops perform very well,"said Changwony, adding that the agency will supply farmers with free high value seeds.
The former Sasini Tea company Chief Executive Officer said the investors will establish factories in the county for purposes of processing the produce before export.
"There is a guarantee market for these cash crops in Asia. We are very certain about the market. What will only be required is a consistent supply," said Changwony.
Tolgos said virtually every crop does very well in Elgeyo Marakwet because of the composition of the Highlands, the hanging valleys and the Kerio valley which were endowed with different climatic conditions favorable for various farming activities, sufficient rainfall and fertile soil.
He said his government will sensitize farmers to embrace the contractual farming concept, though farmers would later commit themselves to the partnership with the agency.
With the coming up of two mega multi-purpose dams undertaken by the national government in Keiyo South and Marakwet West which are expected to provide water for irrigation, the Governor said chances for farmers embracing the promoted crops were very high.
The officials of the agency Mr Benny Wijaya (China) Layla Yusuf (Italy) and Abdulahi Mohammed representing (Juba Valley group) assured the meeting that every crop they promoted had a guarantee Market.
South-South International Trade Promotion Centre is a Legal institution established in Shanghai, China, a Pilot Free Trade Zone.
The meeting was attended by Members of County Assembly MCAs Zachariah Magut, (Soy North), Jonah Tanui (Soy South) and John Yator (Emsoo) alongside County Executive Committees CECs for Agriculture and Irrigation, Shadrack Yatich, Finance and Economic Planning, Isaac Kamar, Health and Sanitation, Kiprono Chepkok and Chief of Staff Mr Kimwetich Barmaasai.