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Kenya's county eyes increased agricultural output through partnership with Chinese

22 January 2016, 22:10

Nakuru - Kenya's county government of Nakuru projects an increase in agricultural productivity and enhanced food security through its partnership with the Chinese development partners.

The regional government in the nation's Rift Valley region has since 2013 engaged in bilateral agricultural related agreements aimed at promoting exchange in agricultural technologies, addition of value to the raw products produced in the county and expanding market for the farm produce.

Nakuru County is popularly known for the production of Irish potatoes, a major staple food serving as an alternative to maize for the 41 million population in the country.

Maize, wheat, carrots, barley, beans, fish and flowers are some of other key agricultural products grown in this high production zone and sold either locally or exported.

Targeting to reduce poverty through stimulated food production, the county's governor Kinuthia Mbugua has entered into Memorandum of Understanding with Henan Province, Beijing Xidan Company and among others, paving way for advanced developments in the field of agriculture.

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"Our interest is to ensure that agricultural productivity is enhanced in the county so that we have enough food for home use and surplus for sale," said Dr.Stanley Chepkwony, the county's executive member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries during an interview on Wednesday.

Significantly, Henan Province and Beijing Xidan Company intend to establish value addition companies in the county to process the Irish potatoes and fish, promoting the productivity of more than 800,000 farmers engaged in the farming activity.

"We have always encouraged our farmers to embrace value addition as this increases their profits and therefore having firms that can spearhead the advancement in our county is something that is highly welcome," said Chepkwony.

In the county, commercial fish farming is mainly done at the Lake Naivasha producing more than 330 metric tonnes annually. The county's department of agriculture indicates that 335 metric tonnes of fish were harvested from the lake in 2015.

With the technology many farmers could have a chance to grow the rice thereby diversifying crop production for the county's 80 percent of population directly engaged in farming.

"Promoting good practices in farming is key to increasing productivity and in the long-term households poverty," said Chepkwony.

Thousands of the rural farmers in the county are mainly engaged in farming, however, they still continue to live in poverty to a number of farmers including poor harvests and lack of profitable markets.

Currently, the county's rural poverty stands at 45 percent which Chepkwony says can drop drastically with increased food surplus for sale and access to better markets, China being among them.


- Xinhua


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