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
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.