Kirinyaga County has embarked on an ambitious programme that seeks to empower farmers in order to help them improve their living standards.
Through the Wezesha economic programme, Governor Anne Waiguru's administration has invested Sh17 2million in various agricultural projects meant to benefit farmers from across the region.
While inspecting the progress of implementation of pigs and tomato projects in Thiba, the governor revealed that already, 473 farmers’ groups have been financed to undertake income generating projects.
She said that currently, the projects are impacting on about 14,000 households, a number that is expected to rise with subsequent recruitment and funding of more groups, with each of the participating households expected to make an extra Sh1,000 per day from the supported projects.
“Wezesha Kirinyaga provides farmers, among them women and youth, with alternative livelihoods that will lead to more income and better standards of living,” she stated.
Ms Waiguru said that 71 tomato farmers’ groups, with an impact on about 2,000 households, have been supported to increase production and propagate varieties that are disease tolerant and suitable for processing.
The county produces about 63,000 tons of tomatoes which earn farmers Sh1.5 billion annually.
Governor Waiguru also visited Thiba South Youth Group’s pig project. This is one of the 20 groups that have been supported by the county government to keep pigs. Each of the groups were given one sow pig that is already served and is expected to give birth in October, as well as 15 weaner pigs that will be ready for sale after four months of rearing.
She stressed that apart from the farmers earning income from the sale of the pigs, there will be many women and youth working in pig transportation business, pork eateries as well as transportation of pig feeds among other support activities.
Ms Waiguru said that at maturity, each pig is expected to fetch between Sh17,000 and Sh20,000 depending on weight.
Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (Kida) will assist the farmers to sell their pigs.
The governor said that to support the pig and tomato projects, her administration will be building an abattoir and a tomato processing factory.
Other projects funded under Wezesha Kirinyaga are poultry, dairy and avocado farming, bee keeping and fish farming.
Ms Waiguru noted that the Wezesha projects are not only supporting the county’s economic development agenda but will also contribute to the achievement of the food security goal of the Big Four Agenda