Bungoma county has been placed among the big five counties by the national government which are to ensure national food security.
This comes due to the adequate rainfall that the county has and the virtuous farming soils available in the region.
While addressing Bungoma farmers at Mabanga FTC on Tuesday, Agriculture permanent secretary Hon Richard Lesiampe said that Bungoma County was suitable to feed Kenya due to its adequate rainfalls and noble soils.
Lesiampe cited that the national government was going to support the county in terms of farm inputs to safeguard enough maize production for not only consumption, but also export.
“We have placed Bungoma among the big five counties that are to feed this nation. 55 million bags of maize are obligatory to feed this country, and we are going to give full support to farmers so that we meet our targeted production,” said Lesiampe.
He further added that the national government had already released 98,000 bags of subsidized fertilizer to Bungoma, but due to the highest population of farmers in Bungoma, the national government resolved to add other 50,000 bags.
Lesiampe however called upon county commissioners, Bungoma county CECM in charge of agriculture, farmers’ representatives and a clergy to commission the distribution of subsidized fertilizer to ensure evenhandedness.
He also called upon farmers to report any public servant who will be found diverting subsidized fertilizer so that he/she faces the full wrath of the law.
“Fertilizer distribution should start by Monday and I call upon county commissioners, the County CEC in charge of agriculture, a clergy, security officers and representatives from farmers to commission the distribution, and anyone found diverting the fertilizer shall face the full wrath of law,” he said.
Hon Lesiampe also promised Bungoma farmers that he was going to ensure National Cereals and Produce Boards are open by August to allow farmers take there their produce in time.
He also promised to increase the number of maize driers in Bungoma county and look for university agriculture graduates to launch civic education among farmers on better methods of food conservation.
Speaking at the same event, Chief administrative Secretary in charge of Agriculture Hon Andrew Tuimor cited that the national government had agreed with the county government on how to work together with farmers and increase maize production from last year’s 37 million bags to 57 million bags.
“We came to agree on how to work together with you farmers to increase food production to about 57 million bags. We have also raised maize price to sh.3200 per bag to bar the cartels who normally buy from you at a throw away price,” said Tuimor.
Hon Tuimor also cited that the national government had set aside sh.300 million to control army worms, and that they were sending a team to Brazil which has been able to control army worms, to check on what it has been doing to control farm pests.
Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wafula Wangamati speaking at the same event thanked the PS and CAS for the move they had taken to recognize Bungoma as one of the biggest food producers in Kenya.
He characterized maize production in Bungoma as crucial and cited that the county government will be starting free fertilizer distribution to vulnerable farmers over the weekend.
“Maize production in Bungoma County is very crucial, and as county government we had resolved to issue out free fertilizer to 750 vulnerable families per ward starting this coming weekend,” Wangamati said.
He additionally called upon the national government to subsidize fertilizer further in the next financial year to around sh.1000 per bag so that more vulnerable farmers can be able to purchase.
He similarly assured Bungoma residents to look for investors who will help put up a milling factory so that the youths can get employment.
Wangamati also cited that the county had already received an investor who will be putting up a factory in Bokoli that will be generating liquid glucose from cassava.
He further discouraged the act whereby other milk processers from outside the county buy milk from Bungoma farmers at sh.35 per litre and later resell to same Bungoma people at sh.110 per litre after processing.
He quoted that the county government was in plans of starting its own milk processing plant since Kitinda dairy was not doing well, with a production of only 2000 litres per day.
The Bungoma county CECM in charge of agriculture Mr. Mathews Wanjala Makanda called upon national government to start a potato seed multiplication centre in Mt Elgon to increase irish potato production in the region.