Kirinyaga County Administration has disbursed Sh 117 million cheque to benefit organised Women and Youth groups in the area.
The funds will also go into implementation of the second phase of National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth (NARIG) projects which include poultry, dairy, avocado, tomato and pig production among others
Governor Anne Waiguru while disbursing the money to various groups yesterday said the projects were being implemented by 314 community groups comprising of about 8,000 households.
Waiguru said that the funded projects were part of Wezesha Kirinyaga program which is aimed at making agricultural activities translate to better incomes and improved livelihoods of the county residents.
“The projects will economically empower the farmers by diversifying their agricultural activities to reduce overdependence on traditional cash crops whose prices at times are unreliable. “she said
Among the 314 groups are 45 poultry groups, 60 tomato groups, 30 avocado groups, 60 dairy groups and 20 groups each among pig farmers, beekeepers, egg incubators, fish farmers, vulnerable and marginalized groups and 19 nutrition groups.
Waiguru said the poultry farmer’s groups have been funded to the tune Ksh. 22.5 million which will enable them to undertake mass egg production projects.
The governor said the county will provide each of the groups with 1,250 improved Kienyenji chicks adding that the project will complement the ongoing phase 1 of the project in which 32 groups are already producing eggs.
“We are also going to provide chicken feeds to the farmers for the first six months of the project while marketing of the eggs is done through Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (KIDA).’Waiguru said
She said the tomato growing groups will have been provided with Shs 30 million for the construction of green houses and drip irrigation systems to enable them to grow tomato varieties suitable for processing.
The project she said is in preparation for the proposed tomato processing factory that will add value and address post-harvest tomato loses in Kirinyaga and the neighboring counties of Embu and Muranga.
Farmers engaged in the growing of hass avocado have benefited with Shs 15 million which will go towards supporting them with seedlings.
The aim Waiguru said is to increase production geared towards feeding a proposed avocado packhouse while Ksh. 30 million goes to the dairy sector towards improvement of cow breeds through improved Artificial Insemination (AI) program.
The program has also introduced pig farming with already identified twenty pig farmer’s groups with support of Shs. 4 million which will go towards getting each of the groups a mother sow and 20 piglets.
The eventual strategy according to the governor, Waiguru is to construct a pig abattoir and engage the jobless youths with some positive gains from the project
Waiguru said they have hastened the issuance of the cheques to the farmers to empower them especially at this time where much of their activities have been affected by the Covid 19 related challenges.
“We don’t wait until next year to use the money for our campaign, we have decided to give out the money to empower our farmers and end the culture of handouts to our people,” she said.
The governor said the program has also explored the potential in beekeeping by allocating Shs 4 million for bee-keeping groups.
The money Waiguru said will go toward acquiring 25 beehives and honey harvesting kits for each of the groups.