Kibaki’s Sh1 billion boost for cane farmers
THE government has allocated Sh1 billion from Sugar Development Fund for small scale farmers. President Kibaki said the amount, to be released through the Agricultural Finance Corporation, will help farmers increase production in their farms. In a speech read on his behalf by Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno during the official opening of this year’s Kisumu Agricultural Show, President Kibaki noted that already Sh 780 million has been loaned to farmers at the rate of 5 per cent. “I urge more farmers to make use of this facility for increased production in their farms,” said Kibaki.
He asked the loanese to honour their loan repayment to enable large number of clients to benefit from the facility. He noted that the government is committed to ensure the country remains food secure. In Nyanza, the head of State revealed that maize production increased from 2.5 to 7.5 million bags in the last two years. “The province has however the potential to produce as much as over 20 million kilograms of maize by use of improved seeds,” he said.
He disclosed that in regard to credit access to farmers in Nyanza region, the government through the Agricultural Finance Corporation has opened two branches in Oyugis and Bondo Districts. This he noted will supplement the Kisumu, Kisii and Migori branches. Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno challenged the District Agricultural officers to initiate their programmes at the village level.
He challenged local leaders to encourage their people to uphold agricultural activities. Agricultural Society of Kenya National Chairperson Alice Kalya said: “farming in Kenya has been taken as a part time job,” a perception she noted can be changed if laws are passed to ensure that only professional farmers are allowed to farm as the rest engage in other income generating activities.
She pointed out that this will ensure that those who choose to be farmers will be professionals out to optimize land potential by using modern methods of farming for improved crop yield. She challenged the youth to create employment by taking up farming as a profession instead of migrating to urban centre’s to look for elusive jobs.
She stressed on the need for farmers to use ICT to enable them access information on how to improve productivity and also access markets. The official opening of the show was also attended by ASK branch chairman Bob Madanje, Kisumu Town West MP Olago Aluoch and Nyanza PC Francis Mutie among other dignitaries.