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January 21, 2019

The Week

Tanzania farmers beat Kenyans in value addition



Lack of appropriate technology has left Kenyan farmers lagging behind their East African counterparts in processing and value addition to agricultural products.

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance chairman of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, John Mutunga, said lack of loan packages for farmers is among challenges that Kenyan small holders farmers must contend with. “Over 80 per cent of agricultural products in Kenya are sold unprocessed, due to lack of appropriate technology,” he said during the recent Food Packaging Expo in Nairobi.

Tanzania leads the region in adding value to its agricultural produce, processing 34 per cent of its harvest. Uganda follows closely, processing 27 per cent while Kenya is third placed, processing only 16 per cent of its agricultural produce.


Counties put on high alert over Rift Valley Fever



County governments have been put on high alert over the Rift Valley Fever outbreak.

The Kenya Veterinary Services director Dr Kisa Juma has issued a memo to all governors and directors of veterinary in counties and further directed his officers to place the early warning systems on high alert.

Kisa noted that with the current weather conditions, there is a high chance of the occurrence of RFV and other vector borne diseases.

He ordered the stepping up of surveillance for livestock showing symptoms of RVF at market places and where livestock are congregated. “Some of the Rift Valley Fever symptoms include sudden onset of abortions, high fever, nasal and ocular discharges in mature animals, vomit and abdominal colic,” he said.


Uasin Gishu MCAs root for farming diversification



Uasin Gishu county assembly last week passed a motion urging the county government to come up with policies and programmes to sensitise farmers on the need to diversify farming.

In a motion tabled by Tembelio MCA Pius Kigen, the assembly noted that maize and wheat farming has been facing a lot of challenges hence the need for farmers to engage in alternative farming.

“Many farmers have been complaining of lack of market for their products due to cheap imports from the neighbouring countries and the only way they can tackle this challenge is by diversifying on the crops they plant,” noted Kigen.

The motion received overwhelming support from MCAs who said diversification could help improve farmers’ incomes.


Sh900m to revive Kwale Cashew nuts factory



Plans are underway to revive the Kwale Cashew nuts factory that stalled over 25 years ago due to financial constrains.

Senator Boy Juma Boy said over Sh900 million will be used to put up a building to process cashew nuts.

“When I was the MP for Matuga, we were to get loans from foreign investors but they failed us hence the project stalled at roofing level, ” Boy said.

Boy said there were enough raw materials to enable the factory operate without shortage, and in case of any shortfall, the same could be supplemented from Kilifi county, which has vast land on cashew nuts trees.

He said the aim of constructing the factory is to assist the local cashew nuts farmers get market for their produce and avoid middlemen who are buying the raw nuts at throwaway prices.

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