News from Counties

Honorable Members of County Assembly,
Leaders of various farmer groups and cooperatives, Business representatives
Government officials,
Fellow Farmers, our Children and other participants

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is the 39th World Food Day. This day is cerebrated to reflect and heighten public awareness on the global food security status and to strengthen our solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This calls for investing in sustainable food systems and rural development.
Laikipia County is a member of the wider global community and therefore alive to some of these challenges. They range from feeding our growing population to protecting the global climate, and tackling some of the root causes of migration and displacement.
My government is committed to ending hunger and facilitate sustainable and resilient, climate-compatible agriculture and food systems in this County.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
Migrations in our county precipitate Resource based conflicts that perpetuate hunger and poverty. This slows down Social development and hope for economic integration. My Government is investing in strategies that reduce migration. This is not just a laikipia county but a regional problem. It requires regional approach. Recently, colleagues from neighbouring counties have joined me in launching the Amaya Triangle Peace Initiative.

Ladies and Gentlemen;
The competing demands for food, water, and energy eventually create ethnic conflicts, human-wildlife conflicts and rural-urban migration culminating into Human displacements which in turn compromises food production.
My government is strategizing on how to ensure stable human settlements by investing in food security, profitable farming and rural development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
My government is committed not just to ensure food security in the county, but also to increase rural incomes by transforming farming into profitable business and ensuring sustainable use of our natural resource base. Our soils, fauna and flora must be useful today and for future generations.
Our agricultural capabilities will be realized through wholesome system approach with the farmer/pastoralist at the center of development.
The following components will be given adequate prominence to steer the sector to economic heights in this county;
• Countywide mapping of our farmers. All farmers (smallholder and large scale) will be identified and registered.
• A general farmers’ database will be kept and updated in the county.
• Further, value chain specific producer registers will also be developed by registering the farmers engaged in specific production activities.
Ladies and Gentlemen
My government is enhancing agricultural extension service delivery through appropriate outreach programmes. We have put in place mechanisms to enhance provision of extension services by both the public and private service providers. My department of agriculture livestock and fisheries must ensure that all the wards are covered in terms of staff, transport and other extension facilitating resources.
In this regard, two chief officers are being recruited for this department in order to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in service delivery.

Ladies and Gentlemen
The component of research in agricultural development is of paramount importance. My government is putting in place research linkages between itself and research organizations in the country. We shall collaborate with KALRO, Laikipia University, Egerton, JKUAT, UoN and the CGIAR (IITA, ICRISAT, ICIPE, CIAT, ICRAF, CYMMIT and CIP) to ensure that our farmers get the best in the market.
Already, my government and KALRO are already undertaking wheat trials in the county. In the long rains season of 2018, we shall have wheat varietal trials in 10 wards in the county. This will be useful to help the wheat growers identify the best suited variety for their areas in terms of disease resistance, drought resistance and high yields.
Very soon, we shall be recruiting farmers in suitable area for potato seed multiplication contracts.

Ladies and Gentlemen
Our farmers need continuous training for them to keep abreast of the new innovations and technologies. Extension staffs too require undertaking on job training to enhance their capacities in service delivery.
My government is exploring the possibility of setting up a farmers training and resource center in the county where they may get relevant knowledge and skills in a one stop shop. We are working to ensure we give our farmers the best to achieve our mandate.

Ladies and Gentlemen
All agricultural production in the county must be geared towards the commercialization of the farm enterprises. In my manifesto, one of the key pillars is, “to make farming a profitable business”. This we shall achieve by undertaking contact farming, proper value chain analysis and introduction of cutting edge technology in the production processes.
My government has already started the contract farming programme. Our target value chains are sorghum, canola, sunflower, soybean, yellow grams, Irish potatoes and wheat. Others include beef (including international markets), mutton, chevon, honey, and pastures (hay). We have already established the sorghum contract farming business with the introduction of the EAML in our county.
The county contract farming desk has been working with the ward agricultural officers in the farmer sensitization and recruitment drive for the project. Today, we have recruited 1,500 smallholder farmers with a total of 2,000 acres ready to engage in sorghum production for the EAML market.
The agriculture staff continue to recruit more farmers in their wards and I’m pleased to announce that the response is overwhelming. We wish to have a minimum of 10,000 farmers in legal contracts. We have also put in place a system where the farmer will be able to get partial financing through our partners to facilitate the programme. An insurance component is also embedded in the contract to mitigate adverse weather.
Starting Wednesday this week, we shall have the first contracts being signed between the producer organizations and the EAML. I encourage more smallholder farmers to come together and exploit this opportunity.
The contact farming desk in the county will work to ensure there is a market or markets for all value chains in the county.
Towards market enhancement for our agricultural produce, my government will also facilitate value addition, agro-processing, warehouse receipting system and development of market infrastructure in our trading centers

Ladies and Gentlemen
At times, the acquisition of farm inputs by farmers is hampered by high cost, long distances and compromised quality.
My government will partner with reputable agro-input companies to have their inputs stocked in our markets. The department of agriculture, Livestock and fisheries shall identify resource poor farmers and provide them with subsidized inputs to kick start their farming activities.
We are liaising with the national government to have the subsidized fertilizer delivered as close to the end user as possible. We need to have a depot/store in Sipili, Kinamba, Rumuruti and Marmanet in addition to the one in Nyahururu.
We shall also partner with KEPHIS to ensure the seed sold in Laikipia is of the highest quality.

Ladies and Gentlemen
My government will set up a fund where agricultural value chain actors can draw low interest credit facility to maximize their potential. At the moment we have the enterprise fund and the cooperative fund which are all geared towards bridging the capital gap for all entrepreneurs including agro-entrepreneurs.

Ladies and Gentlemen
For growth in the agricultural sector my government shall improve rural infrastructure and at the same time lobby the national government and other development partners in the area of rural infrastructural development.
In this regard we are embarking on roads improvement, irrigation development and market infrastructural development. In this year, we are partnering with the European Union to put up three grain storage facilities in Marmanet (Mutanga), Olmoran (Sipili) and Githiga (Kinamba). These facilities will help reduce post-harvest losses and leverage the value of our grains in the markets through the WRS.
On Irrigation, the department of agriculture, Livestock and fisheries will work with the state department of irrigation to identify and develop proposals for construction of mega dams and reservoirs in the County. We will seek funding for these dams and undertake the works to increase the area under irrigated farming.
For the smallholder farmers, we shall provide them with dam liners when they construct/ excavate farm ponds for their orchards and kitchen gardens.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
My government shall work with the county assembly of Laikipia to enact laws that facilitate development of the agriculture sector in the county. We now have committees working on these issues including the agricultural committee chaired by Hon Simon Kanyutu.
We shall also domesticate the AFA act and all other acts related to the sector and ensure they work to our advantage.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We need as a county to recognize that we have the potential to produce more food and cash crops in our mixed farming zones and marginal mixed farming zones. We need to look at the rich repertoire of crops and livestock available to us. In cereals we should embrace such crops as sorghum, millet, wheat and oats in addition to our maize. In some areas, these crops offer a comparative advantage to maize. Legumes such as Njahi (Dolichos), pigeon peas, chick peas, yellow grams, green grams and cow peas need to be embraced.
Root crops like cassava and the fortified sweet potatoes available in KALRO centers should be promoted. Oil crops including the soybean, canola and sunflower can and should do well in our climate. Industrial crops like the macadamia, coffee and sisal can be established. Pasture grasses especially the Boma Rhodes can place Laikipia on an economic pedestal.
Traditional vegetables (black nightshade, amaranth, spider plant etc.) can form a special market for our farmers. Horticultural sector for both domestic and export markets should be enhanced. The Irish potato is a crop with unlimited potential. Farmers in Laikipia should exploit some of the opportunities proffered by this crop in the areas of seed potato and also production for processing companies. Organic food production for niche markets should also be explored.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are many unexploited opportunities in the livestock sub sector value chains as well. Let us also see more small stocks of rabbits, poultry, honey, camels and swine.
Fish farming and trade will be enhanced by facilitating construction of farm fishponds and stocking them in farms and supporting construction of cooling facilities and ice plants. We will complete rehabilitation works in Rumuruti fish farm for suitable fingering production to supply our 59 community dams and other institutional and private 800 ponds
AI subsidization, farmer aggregation, milk cooling plants operationalization mainly in dairy, selective breed improvement programs, strategic feedlots in beef and general disease control programs are being enhanced by my government to improve on productivity.
Countywide FMD Vaccination program is being rolled out this week. Please present your cattle when advised to do so.
Analysis has shown that 0ver Ksh 24M worth of hides and skins is lost across the county every year due to poor flaying techniques. My government has collaborated with Alpharama Ltd (tannery) in Athi River to enhance hides and skins quality
10 flayers are already undergoing leather quality improvement training through our joint venture. An MOU between my government and Alpharama Ltd to reduce hides and skin losses is going to be signed before the end of the month.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Finally, my government will promote the agricultural sector development by basing the sector performance on the following key points in our manifesto: -
• Publish a map of crops and livestock that are profitable to produce in every village;
• Mobilize farmers to form marketing organizations to enter into contract farming with traders and processors;
• Offer inputs and other subsidies to resource poor households to increase crop and livestock yields, to end hunger and reduce poverty;
• Develop and promote the Laikipia beef brand by creating disease-free compartments and promoting feedlots;
• Co-invest with entrepreneurs and cooperatives to promote on-farm value addition for crops and livestock production

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Laikipia farmers! God has given us an opportunity to be in this county; let us ensure food security is achieved in our county in our lifetime. May we ensure that part of our legacy is finally defined by making hunger a history in our generation!
Thank You; and May God Bless You and Bless our County.

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