• Governor Ongwae holds talks with US Ambassador Kyle McCarter on how to revive pyrethrum farming and boost the livelihoods of residents.
• McCarter said it was regrettable that Kenya had more than 300,000 pyrethrum farmers four decades ago but the number has drastically declined.
Kisii Governor James Ongwae on Tuesday announced plans to revive pyrethrum farming with the US government promising support.
Ongwae who spoke alongside US Ambassador Kyle McCarter at the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital said he had held talks with the envoy and they agreed to revive pyrethrum farming.
The governor said pyrethrum farming had good returns and regretted that it was no longer vibrant as before. Ongwae said Kisii was a leading world pyrethrum producer in the 1960s.
“Synthetic pyrethrum took over but now we have natural pyrethrum that is needed in the world and we need to support our farmers to revive this industry,” Ongwae said.
McCarter promised the US government will work closely with Kenya to revive the agricultural sub-sector. He said it was regrettable that Kenya had more than 300,000 pyrethrum farmers four decades ago but the number has drastically declined.
“We are going to revive the pyrethrum industry to enable the Kenyan people to prosper. That is what friends do. They help one another prosper,” McCarter said.
The envoy said Kisii was a beautiful county with all the required ingredients for success.
“It is blessed with so many resources, land, wildlife but the greatest asset it has is the people who are hardworking and fighters,” McCarter said.
The official said Ongwae was a visionary leader determined to serve his people.
“Governor Ongwae has a big vision for the people he is serving. The Governor is thinking big, he is acting big so that the people of Kisii can benefit from the government.”
The ambassador who was accompanied by his wife Victoria singled out the ongoing construction of a 200-bed capacity Mother and Child Hospital in Kisii saying it will enable mothers and their children to access quality medical care.
The MCH will enhance the bed capacity at KTRH to 900 making the hospital the largest public facility in Nyanza region. Kisii also hopes to boost medical tourism with the construction of the facility.
“Mothers and children will enjoy better healthcare services once the facility is complete,” the ambassador said.
He later toured the newly built county fire station.
MacCarter said the United States believes Kenya should not no longer be just a beneficiary of foreign aid but a benefactor for its people and the East Africa region.
“We are committed to replacing aid with trade. We have investors from the US who are interested in products like pyrethrum which is on a high demand. The investors are buying the product and helping farmers set up production facility in Nairobi,” he said.
He said pyrethrum farming has enabled farmers to cater for their children’s school fees and medical care. The sector also feeds thousands of families and plans for its revival are underway.
Ongwae said the county was also seeking support of the American government in areas of disaster management and health especially on twining.
“We have already opened up a medical school. We need serious twining with US universities so that we can progress our nascent medical school,” Ongwae said.
Ongwae said they also discussed value addition to products like avocado, bananas and soapstone.
editedf by p.obuya