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Tea farming starts in Mt Elgon

25 June 2014, 14:09 Arap Yego

Bungoma - Farmers in Mt Elgon sub-County have a reason to smile after the Bungoma County government purchased over 200 000 tea seedlings that will sold to them at a subsidised price.

The Bungoma county government through the county ministry of Agriculture set aside KES 3 million for the purchase and transportation of the seedlings to the six wards in the sub-county.

Speaking to journalists in Bungoma town, Patrick Koyi, the County Executive member in charge of Agriculture said the seedlings have already been distributed to the region, and appealed to farmers to purchase them.

This follows feasibility studies and surveys by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with experts from the Kenya Tea Foundation, who established that the region has suitable soils and optimum temperatures that are good for tea farming.

“The seedlings have already been distributed to the region. They are each sold at a subsidised price of KES 5. We are asking more farmers to take up the new agricultural venture,” said Koyi.

He said the county government came up with the initiative as a measure to fast track the establishment of a planned tea factory in the area, and also as a way of turning around the economic fortunes of farmers in Mt Elgon and the surrounding areas.

“The national government has promised to set up a tea factory in the region. But it cannot be set up if there is no supply of the tea to sustain the factory. We want the residents to intensify farming of the crop because the minimum acreage required before building the factory is at least 250 acres,” he said.

"Plans are in top gear by my ministry to also set up a tea nursery in the region to ensure there is enough supply for farmers willing to take up farming of the crop and also as a long term measure to boost the farming of the crop,” he added.

Hillary Bokose, the Mt Elgon sub-County administrator confirmed that the seedlings have been distributed to each of the wards.

“The tea seedlings that are sold at subsidised prices are available at the various agriculture offices in each of the divisional headquarters in the constituency. Over 50 000 seedlings have been sold already,” said Bokose.

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