The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has released a report detailing how agricultural output in Elgeyo Marakwet fetched the County Ksh 34.7 billion since devolution started.
The productivity, according to the report, lifted the County’s Gross County Product (GCP) per capita by 151 percent since 2013. The bounty harvests positioned the County as the second most productive County in Kenya after Nyandarua.
“These positive findings is as a result of several strategies that the County adopted to take advantage of our agricultural potential which was a sleeping giant when we assumed office in 2013,” said Agriculture CEC Anne Kibosia.
She added that some of the interventions included the cash crop promotion and subsidy programme dubbed ‘buy-one-get-one free’ as well as subsidized Artificial Insemination which drastically brought down the cost of AI and was affordable to most farmers.
“Here in Elgeyo Marakwet, we started diversification ahead of most counties. In 2013 we began sensitizing our people and offering them one free seedling for every cash crop bought. These included tea, coffee, mango, macadamia, avocado, tissue culture bananas, pyrethrum and temperate fruits,” said the CEC.
Since then, the County Government distributed 1 million tea seedlings and established 72 hectares of tea farms, 109,514 coffee seedlings planted on 44 hectares of land, 283, 300 pyrethrum splits on 460 hectares of land and 38,800 mango seedlings grown on 50 hectares of land.
The County further distributed 5, 400 temperate fruit seedlings planted on nine hectares of land, 24,000 tissue culture bananas covering 29 hectares, macadamia seedlings now grown on 20 hectares.
“We also introduced interventions in dry land areas of the County where we purchased and distributed drought tolerant seeds to farmers in Kerio Valley including groundnuts, peas, beans, sorghum, pigeon peas,” added Kibosia.
The County further worked on value addition measures by purchasing coffee pulpers, cassava chippers, groundnuts processing machines among other initiatives which are ongoing. They include the construction of a passion fruit processing plant.
“We are also constructing a tomato processing plant and a mango factory in Emsoo and Endo respectively. The County has also entered into a public private partnership with a development partner, Kingdom Foods, to establish a potato factory,” added the CEC.
The County also constructed cereals and fertilizer stores to provide farmers in the wards with storage facilities for farm inputs, in addition to an agro processing facility at the Kabonon Kapkamak irrigation scheme in Arror ward.
“To further promote agribusiness in our County, we introduced greenhouse farming technology to our people. We purchased and installed 23 greenhouses across the 20 wards which are operational. The management of these greenhouses has been handed over to the beneficiaries,” said Kibosia.
In Irrigation, the County introduced six model farms and rehabilitated 27 water furrows supplying water to dry lands to encourage all year farming and boost food security in these regions.