The West Pokot County government, through the Department of Agriculture, distributed 248,952 kilograms of free drought-resistant maize seeds to farmers as mitigation measures to fight hunger in the famine-prone area.
Over 250,000 farmers in the County are set to benefit from the seeds ahead of the long rains season. The County is targeting to get more than one million bags during harvesting time. The seeds will be distributed across the County with the semi-arid areas getting the drought resilient seeds.
Last year’s distribution led to bumper harvests thus cushioning farmers against hunger after getting than 800,000 bags of maize worth Kshs 1.6 billion.
Speaking while presenting the maize seeds in Makutano stadium, Governor Prof John Lonyangapuo said that the program is a step to boost food production and improve food security. “The onset of long rains, early preparation of farms and availability of farm inputs is a sure way to ensure food security,” he said.
He said the first batch of the seeds has been given to farmers in affected areas adding that the County government will be procuring more seeds. “Some farmers in our County do not have seeds to plant in the coming season. I urge the farmers to plant the seed we distribute, and not to consume,” he said.
He said they are also targeting vulnerable people like elders, widows and widowers in the community, and that this will enable residents to shun the dependence on relief food each year.
Lonyangapuo pointed out that the project will promote peace among the neighbouring communities, “If farmers will produce enough food there will be no wrangles with our Marakwet and Turkana neighbours,” he said.
The West Pokot Governor revealed that many farmers in the County have been unable to plant, “Some farmers in our County do not have seed to plant during this planting season.”