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150 young people to benefit from agribusiness training scholarships

At least 150 young people from Makueni County will undergo an intensive three months agribusiness training at the Miramar International College, Nairobi.

The 150 are representatives from the 30 wards, awarded scholarships by the German International Development Agency (GIZ), through the County government and KCB foundation.

The youths will be trained on hydroponics technology at the college for three months, and undergo a further three month training at the field.

They will also undergo business incubation where they will learn how to develop business and marketing plans besides enjoying discounted financing and ready market for their products.

This training is spearheaded by the Makueni Youth Empowerment Service (M-YES) and Makueni County Government’s department of Education,Youth, Sports and ICT.

The 150 youths were flagged off to Nairobi by governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana, GIZ advisor on Employment for Sustainable Development Dr.Henrik Schmidtke and KCB senior manager partnerships John Waimiri at ATC Kwakathoka Wednesday.

Governor Kibwana said his administration will continue to invest in projects that create jobs or enable youths to start their own businesses.

“It is our hope that initiatives like this one shall make agriculture more attractive to youth, promote use of technology in Agriculture, improve young people’s skills and enable them create job opportunities in Agribusiness,” he said.

“Engaging the youth population fully is therefore nolonger a choice but an imperative in the development process that is also recognised by the Makueni County Government Vision 2025,” Kibwana said further.

Dr.Schmidtket said the economic potential of the youth working in the informal sector is far from being fulfilled, mainly due to their insufficient access to knowledge, information and education, limited access to capital assets including land, inadequate access to financial services and limited access to markets.

He said providing youth in the informal sector with skills and enterprise development is a critical driver of job creation, income generation and overall improvement of livelihoods.

County allocates Ksh. 1 million to promote silkworm rearing

The government has allocated Sh 1 million to promote sericulture across the country.

Agriculture Chief Officer  Mary Muteti said the move is part of county government’s strategy to support poverty reduction programs.

Ms Muteti who was addressing participants at a silkworm farming forum said the promotion of sericulture will aid income generation among the locals.

She said the government is also looking into ways of increasing value addition and marketing of silk finished products.

Over 20 groups participated in the event organised in partnership with Tosheka company.

Deputy governor Adelina Mwau  who attended the event said silkworm rearing is a major economic enhancing activity with huge benefits to the households of the participating farmers.

She said the direct selling of  silkworm products will help create employment opportunities for the locals.

“It is a viable and profitable venture especially to the women and the youth,” Mwau said.

Kibwana, Polish diplomat say growing Makueni ASK show good for Agricultural promotion

Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana on Friday officially opened the second edition of the county’s agricultural show at Makindu saying that it provides a nearer and convenient venue for exhibition by farmers in Makueni.

Prof Kibwana who was accompanied by Polish ambassador to Kenya  Jacek Bazanski who had earlier  paid a courtesy call to his office toured several exhibition stands where Makueni farmers showcased agricultural products and technological innovations.

” As you are aware Makueni has been served by the Machakos show previously. Our farmers therefore will have a nearer and convenient venue for exhibition, ” Prof Kibwana said.

He further noted that his government has initiated and subsidized several farm inputs including the artificial insemination services in order to support agricultural production which has been a challenge to farmers.

He said: ” We are aware that the cost of production by farmers is a challenge to many. To this end, my government has subsidized several farm inputs..Among them, AI services with farmers now paying sh 300 per insemination down from the  initial Sh 1,300.”

Makueni Deputy governor Adelina Mwau challenged farmers to implement what they had learnt from the show terming it as a very educative event.


” I celebrate the exhibitors and organisers of this show. Let’s implement what we have learnt here, ” the DG said.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior who was present during the official opening of the trade fair challenged exhibitors and farmers from Makueni to take advantage of the upcoming Machakos agricultural show and showcase innovations and products from Makueni.

” Different constituencies in our county produce different agricultural products. Let’s take advantage of the upcoming Machakos show and display our products there, ” Mutula stated.

The trade fair was also attended by the County Assembly speaker, Douglas Mbilu, Several county executive committee members and other government officials, members of  the county assembly and officials from Agricultural Show of Kenya.

Hope for cotton farmers as Kibwana moves to revive cash crop

Makueni Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana has launched campaigns for the revival of cotton farming in the county.

Talks are in top gear to initiate the revival of cotton farming with mobilization targeting previous cotton sectors in the area already launched.

Addressing delegates at the Business to Business Forum held at the Kusyombunguo hotel in Wote Town on Thursday Prof Kibwana said efforts are being made to revive the cash crop killed by mismanagement of the industry during the Kanu regime.

 He said the Department of Agriculture has been mobilizing farmers to sensitize them about ongoing efforts to restart the cash crop farming in the area.

“We want to revive the cotton sector, here in Makueni it used to thrive in the past and we must find a way of getting it back,”Prof Kibwana said.

He said that a number of stakeholders in the sector have been contacted and that they have already expressed interest in working with the county government to support the cotton farming revival.

Said Prof Kibwana: “We had a meeting yesterday with farmers. We have begun sensitizing our farmers to go back to cotton farming.”

The governor called on local parents to allocate land to their young children interested in cash crop farming.

Agriculture ECM Lawrence Nzunga said the department was keen on supporting the revival of cotton farming in Makueni saying it was an activity with great potential for the local residents.

“We are talking to people about it. We are happy that many are getting interested and experts are already here to provide professional guidance as we plan the revival,” said Mr Nzunga.

Delegates from various counties participated in the forum organized by Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Activity and sponsored by FeediFuture and USAID.

Ksh. 110 million Boost for Makueni Fruit Processing Project

Makueni county government has received a grant of Sh 110 million from the European Union to support the ongoing fruit processing project.

The money will be injected into the Kalamba fruit processing project and used to initiate the expansion of the plant to enable it turn into a multi-processor and to create a packaging line.

The grant is part of Sh 3 billion to be allocated to 15 counties for Local Economic Development projects.

The targeted projects include construction of markets, abattoirs, fruit and milk processing factories, food storage, dairy, seed production and multiplication and fish processing.

Last year Makueni launched a fruit  and milk processing plants at Kalamba and Kikima respectively.

Other counties expected to benefit from the funds include Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Tana River, Samburu, West Pokot, Laikipia, among others.

Makueni governor Professor Kivutha Kibwana witnessed the signing of LED-IDEAS proposal by County Secretary Paul Wasanga and Devolution PS Nelson Marwa.

Makueni is the first county to comply with the European Union conditions for the grant.

Some of the compliance requirements include high standards of fruit production, good agricultural practices and devolved decision making through committees.

Counties seeking the grant are also required to observe strict anti-corruption tendencies and good governance in their operations.

They are also required to come up with projects that transform livelihoods economically.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, European Union representative Vincent De Boer graced the event.

“This marks the beginning of the actual implementation of the IDEAS (Instruments for devolution advise and support) a programme whose financing agreement was signed between the Government of Kenya  and the European Union,” Mr Boer said

Kibwana roots for Large scale Pulses Production at the Colombo Conference

Governor Prof Kivutha Kibwana has said the government of Makueni is encouraging residents to grow pulses in order to double the production of the crop and help improve livelihoods.

The governor said that the growing global market should trigger an increased interest in the crop adding that the entire East African region has embarked on an ambitious endeavour to double production of pulses within the next six years.

“By doubling yields, our farmers can earn twice as much for the same amount of land, thus significantly improving their livelihoods,”Prof Kibwana told delegates from across the globe attending the Colombo conference.

Prof Kibwana spoke at the Global Pulse Confederation Convention in Colombo-Sirlanka where he is representing Kenya and East Africa.

He said: “Agriculture in Eastern Africa today, and indeed my own county of Makueni, Kenya, is largely based on cereal crops, which are sold at lower prices than pulses.”

Pulses the governor said is playing an important part in the economies of the three Eastern African communities in terms of providing food security and increasing incomes through higher-value crops.

Said Prof Kibwana:“Many farmers in my county are now opting to grow pulses as they are fast maturing, taking 70-120 days while commonly grown cereals like maize take three to four months depending on the variety.”

Prof Kibwana further said that the other major advantage is that pulses are less affected by afflation, are high in protein and more resilient to drought.

According to the governor, Makueni County and the entire East African region have the potential to significantly expand production and trade of other pulses such as chickpeas, dolichos (faba beans), cowpeas and pinto beans.

He noted that the region has traditionally produced and exported kidney beans and white pea beans, pigeon peas and mung beans.

The governor is accompanied by the Executive Committee Members for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries Lawrence Nzunga and Trade, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism Rosemary Maundu.

County Government Keen on Commercial Beekeeping

Makueni Deputy governor Adelina Mwau on Wednesday distributed beekeeping equipment to farmers in Kibwezi and Kathonzweni as county government turns focus on commercial honey harvesting.

Mwau said the county is capable of high honey production adding that the government is going to work with farmers to ensure they make the best out of their potentials.

She said honey is highly marketable both locally and internationally and that Makueni being largely semi-arid with vast land populated with vegetation ideal for beekeeping could not be left behind.

“At the moment we have set aside two million shillings this financial year as initial support for bee keeping initiatives,” Mwau said.

She said bee keepers in Makueni county have also benefited from support from partners who are supporting trainings, workshops and equipment donations to farmers.

Mwau distributed several catcher boxes, langstroths, harvesting kits, industrial seal liners, hot air guns, cup sealing machines, beehives amongst others to the farmers.

“We have also sponsored several beekeeping farmers for benchmarking in Kitui, Embu and Baringo counties who are now training the rest,” she added.