West Pokot County government has embarked on an ambitious program to revive cash crop farming that has been on the decline for the past few years in the region. The program worth Kshs 22 million is targeting more than 10,000 small-scale farmers.
The funds are going to help farmers from various regions to engage in farming and help the county to be food secure.
Tapach area in Pokot South is famed for pyrethrum with highest pyrethrum content.
This initiative will empower farmers through a diversified source of income which will be facilitated to enable rehabilitation abandoned pyrethrum and coffee trees neglected 15 years ago.
The program aims at supplying farmers manure and other farm inputs recommended by experts after soil testing was done to increase production.
Currently, the farmers are producing less than 5000 tonnes due to poor management of the cash crop forcing many of them to abandon.
West Pokot County has in the past recorded decline in production in the past years following mismanagement of the boards.
Speaking after officially distributing tea seedlings and pyrethrum splits to farmers, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo said his government is set to ensure that in the coming years the County doesn’t depend on relief food. “This financial year we have been able to revive tea, cotton, pyrethrum, sisal and coffee farming,” he said.
The Governor said the County has favourable climatic conditions to farm the crops if farmers are empowered.
He said his government had embarked on the free issuance of seedlings to farmers to help increase acreage under production since they have already found the market for the crops.
“In low land areas farmers will be able to plant sisal and cotton while in highland areas they will be able to plant coffee, tea and pyrethrum,” he said.
He asked the national government to clear arrears it has been owing to pyrethrum farmers for them to be able to encourage them to start growing the crop again.
He said that he is optimistic that by the end of four years the farmers will have established themselves and able to grow the crops on large scale for export to international markets.
Lonyangapuo said the crops will help reduce the overdependence on relief food since tea and pyrethrum will be grown in highland areas while cotton lowland areas hence boosting living standards of people.
County Director for cash crops Cosmas Korir said that they had approached various companies which will buy the produce directly from the farmers.
Korir said they have been able to register 1700 farmers who have been distributed with 250 splits of pyrethrum each.
Pyrethrum farmers in the county had uprooted the crop and ventured in planting other crops after the cooperative society failed to pay them their dues.