Brief news on farming and agribusiness in the country
What you need to know:
- Ward reps said the insects threaten the livelihoods and food security of more than two million residents of the cosmopolitan county.
- Fish farmer groups have received 40,000 tilapia mixed-sex fingerlings that have been stocked in seven dams across the six sub-counties.
- Dr Victoria Tarus, also the Uasin Gishu County chief officer in charge of livestock and fisheries, is now one of the four directors who will serve for three years at the organisation as the world grapples with depleted fish stocks.
- The project involves training farmers by Farm Africa, a UK-based NGO, on good farming practices for quality French beans for export.
County sets aside Sh10 million for locust fight
The Nakuru County Assembly has allocated Sh10 million in its second supplementary budget to boost the fight against desert locusts.
The 78-member House approved the funds on Thursday. Ward reps said the insects threaten the livelihoods and food security of more than two million residents of the cosmopolitan county.
The allocation comes as thousands of farmers are counting losses from an invasion of the destructive pests. According to the details in the budget, the Agriculture department will use Sh7.1 million to purchase control equipment and pesticides.
Over Sh2 million will be used for surveillance, training of plant doctors, agricultural officers, community-based pest monitors, ward officers, sub-county administrators and other community leaders on how to combat the pests.
The biggest swarm of the pests invaded the county on March 1 and swept across Ol-Rongai, Menengai Crater, Free Area, Section 58 and Nakuru National Park and left a trail of destruction. More than 70,000 hectares of vegetation in Kenya has been destroyed by the pests, says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
County stocks dams with fingerlings to boost fish production, incomes
The Nyeri county government has started restocking public dams with fingerlings in a partnership with Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP).
Fish farmer groups have received 40,000 tilapia mixed-sex fingerlings that have been stocked in seven dams across the six sub-counties.
During the launch of the project recently, Governor Mutahi Kahiga said the fingerlings will help facilitate sustainable management and development of fisheries resources for accelerated social-economic growth.
“We have started distributing fingerlings to farmers to encourage them to embrace aquaculture as an enterprise,” he said.
ABDP is a 15-year donor-funded project aimed at increasing fish consumption by encouraging the youth and women to practise the trade.
It is expected to benefit at least 35,000 households. In the past six months, farmers have raked in Sh2.7 million after harvesting 2,220 kilogrammes of fish from the county dams, according to Agriculture executive James Wachihi.
The county is seeking to stock 37 dams this financial year, with at least 245,000 fingerlings bought.
“This initiative will not only contribute to food security but also revenue generation, job creation and wealth,” Mr Wachihi said.
Kenyan elected director of world aquaculture body
A Kenyan has become the first African to be elected as a director in the World Aquaculture Society (WAS) in recently concluded elections.
Dr Victoria Tarus, also the Uasin Gishu County chief officer in charge of livestock and fisheries, is now one of the four directors who will serve for three years at the organisation as the world grapples with depleted fish stocks.
Dr Tarus said she was optimistic that the continent will benefit from the latest technologies and necessary policies required to spur the growth of the industry.
“Natural fish stocks are going down and focus now is on aquaculture. This now means that Kenya and Africa will be in the picture when it comes to adoption of new technologies. It also gives us a better position to negotiate on crucial polices affecting the sector,” she said.
Kenya requires one million tonnes of fish annually but only 200,000 is produced locally.
In 2017, the country imported more than 12,000 tonnes of fish from China. The aquaculture sector has significant potential to reduce poverty but it is not being fully exploited, she said.
Last September, WAS announced Uganda’s John Walakira as the new president of WAS-Africa.
The organisation was created to facilitate the growth of aquaculture across the African continent through continued research, knowledge-share between African nations and a range of workshops and meetings.
Farmers benefit from fresh produce export market
More than 500 farmers in western Kenya will benefit from the export market following the extension of a partnership between Aldi Stores, a German-based retailer, and Farm Africa, an NGO.
The partnership seeks to support young farmers in the rural west to boost resilience to climate change
Fritz Walleczek, Aldi managing director for corporate responsibility for the UK and Ireland, said the partnership started four years ago and has helped farmers increase production of fresh produce and develop links to local and international markets.
“We are extremely proud of our partnership with Farm Africa and have worked closely with the charity since 2016 to improve prospects for young people in the region while developing sustainable farming techniques," Mr Walleczek said.
“Our partnership aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and is part of our work to support ethical and sustainable international supply chains. Aldi Stores is always looking for ways to limit impacts on the environment and we look forward to continuing working with Farm Africa over the next two years,” he added.
The project involves training farmers by Farm Africa, a UK-based NGO, on good farming practices for quality French beans for export.
In November 2018, green beans harvested by farmers in Kitale went on sale in 10 Aldi stores in the UK.
Farm Africa Head of Corporate Partnerships Penny Ruszczynski said much of the profit generated by farmers is invested in improving financial security and nutrition.
“This new phase of partnership will reach more farmers in Kenya and help us to ensure that Farm Africa’s work can have a far-reaching, long-term impact,” she said.