The Star (Kenya)
Awiti rolls out Sh8m stimulus package for Homa Bay farmers
County has bought certified seeds and subsidised fertiliser for crop production
Select Homa Bay farmers will get seeds and fertiliser to boost crop production through a Sh8 million post-covid-19 stimulus project.
Some 100 farmers from each of the county’s 40 wards have already been identified.
Governor Cyprian Awiti’s administration is deploying the Agriculture department’s extension officers to distribute the seeds and fertiliser and train farmers on best practices.
Awiti urged residents to embark on farming and take advantage of the current rainy season.
“My government bought certified seeds for various crops for people. The seeds will be distributed to farmers and I want our people to concentrate on farming,” Awiti said.
Awiti said on Wednesday that the project is part of the economic recovery strategy plan. The administration wants to help residents bounce back from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of business activities were disrupted and many jobs lost with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The county chief told journalists at the county’s headquarters that youths will also be targeted in the programme.
“Let our extension officers incorporate youths besides local farmers in the programme to ensure we develop together. During fieldwork ensure youths are taught agri-business for their future benefit,” Awiti said. Some of the crops grown in Homa Bay are maize, beans and sorghum. Most farmers depend on rains for their crop production.
Awiti directed Agriculture executive Aguko Juma to ensure extension officers help farmers get the seeds and other subsidised farm inputs. He warned against theft of the seeds and farm inputs.
“We have provided subsidised fertiliser to some farmers who are engaging in intensive agriculture. My administration has also provided ploughing services to farmers in their groups,” the governor said.
Another area of support in agriculture is poultry and fish farming. Farmers will get free advice from experts from the county government to enable them to become self-reliant.
“I want the department of Agriculture to organise on how local farmers can be trained through their registered cooperative societies to enhance their yields,” Awiti said.
Juma said the department had set aside money for fish farmers.
“My department has allocated funds to buy fishermen qualified fishing nets and hooks. We’re doing all these to support our people grow the county’s economy,” Juma said.
He added that the county will buy fingerlings for farmers rearing fish in ponds.
Homa Bay has recorded 62 positive cases of Covid-19 since the outbreak of the virus in the country back in March.