- The funding will support farmers engaged dairy, avocado, tomato, poultry, bee keeping, dairy goats, fish, pig rearing and eggs hatching.
- The farmers will then join 20 saccos through which they will access affordable operational capital, savings and credit services and information on markets.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has issued a cheque worth Sh42.54 million to farmers' groups engaged in various agricultural value chain projects.
The money will be shared among 204 groups to enable them increase productivity for food security and poverty reduction.
While issuing the cheques, Waiguru said the funding under Wezesha Kirinyaga programme will support farmers engaged in nine agriculture value chains including dairy, avocado farming, tomato farming, poultry keeping, beekeeping, dairy goats, fish, pig rearing and eggs hatching.
Wezesha Kirinyaga is an economic stimulus programme that supports diversification of agricultural activities to reduce over dependence on traditional cash crops such as tea and coffee.
The governor also launched 20 ward-based multi-value chain farmers' savings and credit cooperatives that will draw their membership from the groups supported by the county government through the programme.
She said saccos are key to unlocking smallholder farmers’ potential and will be spread out in each of the 20 wards.
The saccos have already mobilised 1,666 members and Sh2.9 million in savings, share capital and registration.
They will provide members with affordable operational capital, savings and credit services, and information on markets and best production practices.
Waiguru said the initiative is aimed at strategically positioning farmers to be the top suppliers of raw materials for upcoming processing industries in the Sagana Industrial Park.
“Greater productivity can boost farmers’ income especially for smallholder farmers who have limited resources. Increasing productivity in agriculture is critical in poverty reduction,” the governor said.
The Council of Governors chairperson said cooperatives are an important vehicle that enables farmers to pool financial and technical resources thus spreading their costs and drawing from the collective members’ experiences.
“Eventually, the saccos will be able to offer e-voucher programme for subsidized farm inputs, provide crop and livestock insurance as well as aggregate and market the farmers’ produce,” she said.
The funding is the second batch of the third phase of financial support for the groups.
The county government has previously disbursed a total of Sh380.2 million out of which Sh210.7 million was issued to farmers’ groups and Sh169.5 million went to farmers’ cooperatives.
“We remain committed to supporting all our farmers to increase income from farming and uplift their standards of living,” she added.
The governor has supported the groups with computers and printers as a way of helping them to establish the cooperatives and enhance their capacity to deliver high quality services to members.
The county administration will pay one year rent for the co-operatives’ offices, one year salary for a book-keeper who has already been trained and one year statutory fees to enable them kick off operations successfully.
She urged all farmers to join the cooperatives in their respective wards in order to benefit from the various services they offer.
Farmers hailed the Wezesha Kirinyaga programme, saying it has transformed their lives through profitable agriculture.
Cyrus Wambugu, a farmer from Nyangati ward, said that the multi-value chain saccos will enable farmers to transition from subsistence to commercial farming as they will access affordable operational capital.