Government cautions residents against escarpment cultivation

From left: Soy South MCA Jonah Tanui, Reverend Jackson Kosgey, CEC Abraham Barsosio, Keiyo South Assistant County commissioner Ms. Stela Gakii and CEC Shadrack Yatich during the illegal farming on escarpments senstisazition at Kocholwo in Soy South Ward.

 

The county government of Elgeyo Marakwet has carried out public sensitization to stop illegal farming activities along the kerio escarpments.

County executives in charge of Water, Environment and natural resources Ambraham Barsosio and his Agriculture counterpart Shadrack Yatich while touring Kocholwo in Soy South Ward on Tuesday engaged the local community on modalities to observe the directive.

Areas mapped out as most affected include Kocholwo, Tambach, Sambirir and Embolot- Embobut across the escarpments and the hanging valleys.

“We are sending a team of land surveyors who will erect beacons that will guide you on where the cutline is. We cannot accept this kind of illegal farming activities in the escarpments,”Yatich told the baraza in Kocholwo community resource centre.

The unregulated activities have in the recent past resulted to killer landslides that claimed lives and property, said Mr. Barsosio while warning the residents of Katumoi, Setano, Kabechei and kocholwo to observe the directive instead of courting problems.

Sections of roads and bridges have been affected as a result of the illegal farming activities in the water catchments which are
completely unsuitable for cultivation, he noted.

Should the practice continue unabated, they warned, the county government in liason with government security agencies might use force to implement the order.

Any further plunder of the water catchments for maize farming in the next farming season will attract punitive measures, warned Mr.Yatich adding that local Agricultural officers in whose areas of jurisdiction continue plundering the escarpments will face disciplinary action.

He advised the farmers on the alternative agricultural practices listing coffee, avocado, mangoes, bananas, macadamia and groundnuts among others as the most suitable for Kocholwo, Setano,Katumoi, Teber and Kabechei locations unlike maize farming.

He however praised the local farmers in the area for embracing coffee farming saying it was one of the notable areas across the county where farmers were already reaping impressive returns from the crop.

Last year alone, farmers from the region earned Sh.19 million from sale of coffee, said Mr. Yatich. The area also planted a big percentage of the 63,000 seedlings for Coffee, macadamia and avocado procured by the county this year, added the CEC.

The county government has allocated Sh2 million for soil conservation and promotion of coffee and mango cash crops in Soy South Ward.

According to area Member of County Assembly MCA Jonah Tanui the money had been allocated towards establishment of terraces and promotion of the cash crops.

Religious leaders Reverend Jackson Kosgey and Samuel Teimuge together with national government representatives led by Keiyo South Assistant County commissioner ACC 1, Ms. Stela Gakii attended the meeting.

Mentors share life skills with students

Governor Alex Tolgos and Singore Girls Principal Rose Koech greet students when they arrived at the Singore Girls secondary school grounds for the mentorship program.

 

Secondary School students in Elgeyo Marakwet County have benefitted from a mentorship program that will help them improve their academic work.

The program, dubbed Mentorthon is a mentorship marathon that connects high school students with role models, stories, career advice and lessons from entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders.

It is expected to equip young people in secondary schools with life stories, lessons, tools and knowledge.

Speaking during one of the mentorship tour at Sing’ore girls, Governor Alex Tolgos encouraged the students drawn from different schools within the county to concentrate on their studies in order to achieve their targets in life.

He said: “This is a rare opportunity where professionals come together to share their life stories with you. I urge you to take your studies seriously. That is the only way to achieve your goals in life. As a county we will continue to embrace such programs.”

He challenged the students to compete for the top spot in the national examinations reminding them that any school in the County could top regardless of their learning institutions.

The 2018 Elgeyo Markwet edition was hosted in eight secondary schools across the County. Mentors converged at Tambach Boys, Simotwo Boys, Kaptagat Girls, Sing’ore Girls and Chebara Boys. Others were in Kapcherop Girls, Queen of Peace and Sambirir Girls. The event managed to reach more than 7,500 students from over 90 schools.

The Governor appreciated the founders of the mentorship initiative together with sponsors who facilitated the program.

“I have decided that whenever KCSE results are out, any school from this county that emerges top will be my next stop and I am happy that Sing’ore Girls has always been the top. We encourage other schools to strive to emerge the best,” said the Governor.

Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich while speaking to students who had converged at Chebara boys asked the students to concentrate in their class work since the results obtained in form four would determine their future.

He said: “This great annual initiative will go a long way in ensuring our students learn from real life experiences of the successful mentors. I encourage all of you (students) gathered here today to make sure you score well in your form four examinations. This will be a determinant of your future.”

He said through such initiatives, the County will always maintain high its national ranking.

Other leaders who participated in this year’s mentorship program managed included Senate Majority Leader Hon Kipchumba Murkomen, Speaker to the County Assembly Hon. Kiplagat Sabulei, and Woman Member of Parliament Hon. Jane Chebaibai among others. Other Key Note speakers included the Co-founder for Mentorthon Tim Kipchumba, Managing Director for Kenya Power Dr. Ken Tarus and Dr. Susan Komen, among others.

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.

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