Governor Charity Ngilu and the Kenya Red Cross have launched the Sh100 million Ndengu Revolution to end food security and help eradicate poverty.
Its aim is to make green gram (ndengu) Kitui county’s cash crop and turn Kitui from being food dependent to a big food producer.
Ngilu partnered with Red Cross secretary general Abbas Gullet.
They distributed Sh100 million green gram seeds for the October-December short rains.
Some 400 tonnes will be given out to farmers.
The Red Cross has set aside Sh500 million to purchase green grams.
Ngilu and Gullet flaged off 50 tonnes of seeds at the Kitui bus park.
Later they distributed the seeds to residents of Kitui South subcounty.
Ngilu said the programme is part of her administration’s objective of tackling poverty and food insecurity.
Sh3.6bn projected sales
She said economic empowerment would only be realised through utilisation of locally available resources.
“We are walking towards kicking relief food out of Kitui. Never again shall our people sit for hours at a chief’s camps for portions from charitable organisations,” Ngilu told a crowd at the bus park.
In the next four months farmers will earn a cumulative Sh3.6 billion out of the sale of ndengu, Ngilu said.
“We have a direct market where every kilogramme of ndengu will be purchased at Sh100. There will be no room for brokers who fleece farmers.”
She said her vision is to see at least 3.4 million acres of arable land put to productive use.
Only 10 per cent of the land is farmed at this time.
“During Independence, Kenya was a net food producer and exporter. It is a big shock that we have now degenerated into a nation depending on food aid rations,” Gullet said.
“We are collaborating with the Kitui county government to end poverty, food shortage and the indignity of queuing for long hours to get food handouts.”