What you need to know:
- The US envoy said cotton growing presents a huge opportunity for investment for farmers in Kirinyaga.
- He said America is shifting its focus to counties as a means of implementing programmes which will have impact.
- Ms Waiguru noted that there are numerous opportunities in the agricultural sector in Kirinyaga County.
- However, farmers are hampered by lack of market access or bureaucracies in marketing their produce.
Farmers in Kirinyaga County will receive 40 tonnes of BT cotton seeds donated by the US government for planting in the coming short rains season.
This was announced by the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Anne Waiguru at her Kutus office Tuesday. Mr McCarter later toured Kirinyaga’s mass egg production projects.
The national government permitted commercial farming of BT cotton last year after many years of trial at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) centre in Mwea.
The US envoy said cotton growing presents a huge opportunity for investment for farmers in Kirinyaga to fill the enormous supply shortage in the country’s textile industry.
He said America is shifting its focus to counties as a means of implementing programmes which will have impact in order to reduce Kenya’s dependency on foreign aid.
“I am a firm believer in devolution and that is why we have visited Kirinyaga County which is endowed with great resources that would form the basis of our mutual collaborations,” Mr McCarter said.
Ms Waiguru noted that there are numerous opportunities in the agricultural sector in Kirinyaga County but access to markets for farm produce still remains a major hurdle.
She added that coffee and rice are among cash crops that can transform the country’s economy but farmers are hampered by lack of market access or bureaucracies in marketing their produce.
The governor said her administration is helping farmers to diversify their farming so as to reduce overreliance on conventional cash crops. She added that farmers in Kirinyaga will also export rice grown in Mwea and coffee to the US and other countries.
The US envoy toured Wisdom Kathaka Self-Help Group in Kirinyaga Central Constituency, which has been mass producing eggs. He also visited the chicken feeds factory in Kiaga.