CUSHIONING FARMERS

New Taita Taveta county bills to boost food production, nutrition

Agriculture contributes about 38 per cent of the county's GDP.

In Summary

• All the seven bills have been tabled before the county assembly for approval.

• Mwangoma said all the bills seek to protect farmers to achieve nutrition and food security as per the national government’s Big Four agenda.

Banana farmer James Mutua at his banana farm in Kitobo, Taveta subcounty. Many farmers have suffered due to lack of market
Banana farmer James Mutua at his banana farm in Kitobo, Taveta subcounty. Many farmers have suffered due to lack of market
Image: SOLOMON MUINGI

Farmers in Taita Taveta county are banking on seven newly developed bills to increase food production and get more income.

If approved, the bills will also boost nutrition and food security, as well as cushion farmers from the effects of Covid-19.

The bills have been developed by the county's Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation department. They have been tabled before the county assembly for approval.

They include the County Fruit Development and Marketing Authority Bill, 2021, the County Livestock Identification, Registration and Traceability Systems, and the County Artificial Insemination and Livestock Breeding Technologies Bill.

Others are the County Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Bill, the County Abattoirs Bill, the County Livestock Movement and Produce Bill and the County Agricultural Mechanization Services Bill.

Executive Davis Mwangoma said agriculture contributes about 38 per cent of the county's GDP.

He said a good working relationship between the executive and the county assembly has helped in developing legislative mechanisms to govern projects being undertaken to boost agricultural activities.

“All the bills seek to protect farmers to achieve nutrition and food security as per the national government’s Big Four agenda,” Mwangoma said.

Mwangoma said the County Fruit Development and Marketing Authority Bill, 2021, will help increase fruit production to capitalise on the anticipated modern market in Taveta town along the Kenya-Tanzania border.

The modern market, spearheaded by the East African Community and funded by the European Union, is expected to strengthen cross-border trade between the two countries.

“The market will create an avenue for traders to access markets for fruit and other farm produce,” he said.

The County Fisheries and Aquaculture Management Bill, Mwangoma said, will help revive fishing through the distribution of fish pellets.

The CEC said the county has more than 459 fish farmers and over 806 fish ponds.

Traders and farmers in the county have been decrying huge losses occasioned by the pandemic.

Japheth Kililo, a farmer in Taveta, said the lack of adequate market for their farm produce has posed a challenge to agribusiness.

He asked the government to cushion them against the effects of the pandemic by providing subsidised farm inputs and opening up the cross-border market at the Kenya-Tanzania border.

Edited by A.N