FOOD SECURITY

Siaya and Jica seek to promote avocado farming

This year farmers received 6,000 seedlings of Hass variety

In Summary

• Okumbe said on Monday that the initiative to boost avocado farming was to ensure the area is food secure.

• Odhiambo said they have increased acreage under production from 40 acres in 2015 to 130 acres this year.

Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe when he met officials from Jica on Monday.
Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe when he met officials from Jica on Monday.
Image: DICKENS WASONGA

The Siaya government has partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to boost avocado farming in the county.

They are also developing policies and regulations to promote production, stabilise the value chain and expand the market for the crop.

Siaya Deputy Governor James Okumbe said on Monday that the initiative to boost avocado farming was to ensure the area is food secure.

"We are also keen on commercialising production of such crops in Siaya. This crop will also help Siaya realise the 10 per cent forest cover as recommended by the national government for every county," he said.

Okumbe said the county government will conduct continuous sensitisation campaigns to ensure more residents grow avocados.

"We will also be conducting training of staff to manage this whole value chain from input supply, production, processing and marketing," he said.

Agriculture executive Elizabeth Odhiambo said the move to promote avocado farming was already bearing fruit.

"This year farmers received 6,000 seedlings of Hass variety," she said.

Odhiambo said this has led to an increase in acreage under production from 40 acres in 2015 to 130 acres this year.

"We are optimistic this whole process will diversify the market base with joint support from other players like the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme. It is an initiative that will turn around people’s livelihoods in the region," she said.

Odhiambo said Siaya is suitable for avocado farming and full of investment opportunities in the value chain.

Apart from fishing, which is the main economic activity in Siaya, residents keep livestock and grow maize, sorghum, millet, beans and horticultural crops.

Agricultural activities are largely rain-fed, which has become erratic and unreliable because of climate change, with most farmers registering poor yields.

Edited by A.N