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Trans Nzoia County govt to open border for trade

21 June 2013, 15:55 Mwangi Karanja

Trans Nzoia County government plans to request the central government to degazette more than 100 acres of Suam forest near the Kenya - Uganda border to build custom offices.

The move is expected to increase cross border business between Kenya and Uganda, generating revenue to the Trans Nzoia County government.

Speaking on Wednesday in Kitale during the launch of Agriculture Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP) by stake holders in agricultural sector, the County Deputy Governor Dr. Stanley Kenei reiterated that opening of the border would open up new market for the County farm produce.

“We need to open new market for our farmers even outside the country and the new proposed project at the Kenya - Uganda border would facilitate that,” he said.

He said lack of market for farm produce has contributed significantly to the poor living standards of majority of farmers in the County, adding that farmers in the County should diversify and try horticulture instead of over relying on maize farming alone.

Kenei further urged the government to speed up the delivery of subsidised CAN fertilizer to farmers.

He pointed out that the production of maize might drop drastically if the government does not deliver the subsidised fertilizer by the end of this week.

He reiterated that the NCPB should have a plan that would enable farmers receive fertilizer before the end of each year to enable them prepare for planting season in advance.

Kenei said, ”We need to have all farm inputs three months before the planting season if we want to be a food secure nation.”

His remarks come amid increased criticism from farmers to government for failing maize farmers in the region and yet the region is the counrty’s grain basket.

They said that the CAN fertilizer price is unaffordable as majority of farmers are poor and buying 50 kgs of CAN at KES 3 600 was impossible.

“We want the government to regulate the market price of fertilizer since it has failed to distribute the subsidised one to farmers,” he urged.

Earlier, the Trans Nzoia County Kenya National Federation of Farmers producers (KENFAP) chairman William Kimosong had expressed his dissatisfaction with the manner the government was handling the issue of fertilizer distribution.

“As farmers, we don’t think if the government knows what farmers are going through. Nearly 70% of farmers have not top dressed their crops and are not expecting to harvest any thing,” he lamented.

He added that the government should prepare how farmers are going to sell their maize produce at the end of the year as National cereal and produce Board (NCPB) accounts has been frozen and it might not buy maize from farmers.

The sector development support program (ASDSP) is expected to boost agriculture in the County by supporting famers who are engaging in dairy, poultry and Maize farming.

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