• Agriculture CS Peter Munya said 781,800 seedlings would be supplied to farmers in 17 counties with plans to increase the numbers in the coming months.
• These include tomato, under-utilised fruits and cocoa seedlings.
Famers in over 20 counties will receive close to 2 million tomato and fruit seedlings from the Ministry of Agriculture for free.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya said 781,800 seedlings would be supplied to farmers in 17 counties with plans to increase the numbers in the coming months. These include tomato, under-utilised fruits and cocoa seedlings.
“The under-utilised fruits include guava, jackfruit, pomegranate, custard apple, soursop, loquat, gooseberry, blackberry, raspberry, tree tomato, tamarind and java plum,” he said. Munya spoke at the Kalro farm in Naivasha before flagging off vehicles ferrying the seeds.
The CS said tomato is ranked among the high-value horticultural crops in the country accounting for 38.1 per cent of the total value of exotic vegetables.
He admitted that farmers faced various challenges including low yielding cultivars and lack of certified tomato seedlings.
Munya said that under the Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project, Kalro would supply another 514,000 tomato seedlings to farmers in Kajiado, Siaya, Garissa, Elgeyo Marakwet and Mandera counties
The CS announced that Kalro had partnered with Bear Machines from West Africa to introduce Cocoa plant to farmers.
“Kalro will supply 40,000 cocoa seedlings to Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Lamu, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga, Kakamega, Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties,” he said.
He added that under the under-utilised fruit programme funded by Usaid, Kalro would further distribute 227,800 assorted fruits seedlings to 14 counties.
Munya also launched the Kenya Agricultural Observation Platform which monitors rainfall patterns on individual farms.
“Accurate weather forecast is a necessary prerequisite for farm planning and production for both producers and consumers,” he said.
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said that there was a need to support Kalro in its research efforts as this would lead to an increase in food production.
“Research is the basis of good agriculture and we are impressed by the ongoing innovation by Kalro which includes developing and preserving new varieties,” he said.
(edited by o. owino)