Makueni County on Wednesday played host to the 2019 World Food Day national celebrations usually marked annually on 16th October.
The objective of the celebration is promoting worldwide awareness and actions for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diet for all.
The event staged at Kwakathoka was graced by among others; Principal Secretary for Crop Development and Agricultural Research Hamadi Boga, governor Kivutha Kibwana, and top national officials of FAO and WFP.
Kibwana outlined notable milestones achieved by his administration in a quest to improve food security and enhanced incomes:
- The identification and promotion of four key agricultural value chains; fruit, dairy, indigenous chicken and green grams. The value chains have substantially been streamlined from production to value addition including processing through development of Makueni fruit processing plant which is still under development to ensure enhanced return on investment; support to development of dairy aggregation across the county and processing plants at Kikima and Kathonzweni; the on-going development of a poultry slaughter house at Kitise and a grain processing plant at Makindu. This will ensure better quality and safer foods for the consumers while increasing the incomes to farmers.
- Improved accessibility and affordability of agricultural inputs through linkages such as DigiFarm and KCEP-CRAL in collaboration with Safaricom and IFAD respectively, and the establishment by the county government of non-interest fund (Tetheka Fund) to enhance credit for agriculture and trade.
- Water harvesting programme dubbed “Kutwiikania kiw’u “and subsequent food security programme “Operation Mwolyo Out (OMO)- One acre rule”. The strategy entails construction of farm ponds at farm level for the production of quality and nutritious food for the households. The strategy promotes the establishment of dairy, poultry, nutritional garden among others within one acre of land.
- Enhanced agribusiness and youth involved in agriculture, a programme co-funded by world food programme and my Government.
- Establishment of crop and livestock pest and disease surveillance and their control programme.
- Promotion of climate smart agriculture in collaboration with FAO, to improve productivity and profitability and therefore enhance resilience among vulnerable communities. Some equipment used in the programme will be presented to the County in this event.
- Construction of fresh produce markets, stock yards, and establishment of market linkages to enhance returns to the farmers.
- The development of an Agricultural Training Centre (ATC-Kwakathoka). This institution hosts demonstrations in appropriate agricultural technologies as well as offering Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education Training (ATVET) services targeting our youth and other agricultural producers.
- The establishment of County climate change policy and board which strives to reverse environmental degradation and ensure protection of water catchments areas.