Governor Kihika hold talks with the Swedish ambassador focusing on value addition in the agriculture sector
By Mercy Kihugu and James Munyua
The Nakuru County Governor H.E Susan Kihika held talks with visiting Swedish Ambassador to Kenya H.E Caroline Vicini focusing on value chain addition for pyrethrum, milk and fish in the County.
The ambassador was accompanied by a delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development who are critical stakeholders in the sector.
Governor Kihika emphasized the importance of value chain addition to the three selected priority areas, saying farmers are recording high-profit margins from their yields under the Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP).
She added that the construction of a pyrethrum processing factory in Naivasha and the soon-to-start construction of the County Aggregation and Industrial Park at Egerton Agro-City in Njoro Sub-County will be a game changer in value chain addition in the county.
“Agriculture is the backbone of Nakuru county. I acknowledge the remarkable progress that has been achieved in pyrethrum, fish, and milk value chains which have increased yields and profit margins for farmers through Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme II. I request our partners to continue to ASDSP 3 once the current programme ends,” the Governor stated.
Ambassador Vicini stressed the importance of value chain addition, calling for the need to add business sense to agricultural production.
She said Sweden wants to help farmers at lower levels realize the benefits of their sweat through value chain addition to pyrethrum, milk and fish. Sharing knowledge on the success of cooperatives in Sweden will also come in handy.
The ambassador and the Nakuru County executive for Agriculture Leonard Bor later visited Kamasis Farmers Cooperative Society in Nyota Ward, Kuresoi North Sub-county.
The cooperative focuses on the dairy value chain which began in 2019 with 29 members and has now grown to 440 members.
Through Hand in Hand East Africa supported by the Swedish Government, Kamasis Farmers Cooperative has received training on group dynamics, resource mobilization, enterprise development, and value addition.
Additionally, through value addition, the cooperative has been trained in making yoghurt and proper milk packaging
The cooperative has received an AI kit to help them breed high-quality dairy cows for quality milk production.
It has a 500-litre milk cooler and is aggregating 465 litres a day from 70 members which has since grown from when the cooperative began.
“I laud the efforts made by the cooperative and encourage you to strive for self-reliance. I also encourage you to continue working together as a team to make the cooperative work and increase its productivity,” Ambassador Vicini said.
On his part, the CECM for Agriculture said that Nakuru County under the leadership of H.E Susan Kihika will work with the relevant stakeholders to support farmers in the county and ensure they earn from their produce.
He also appreciated the support by ASDSP-II in the establishment of the County Agricultural Sector Steering Committee (CASSCOM) which provides a framework for monitoring and evaluation. It also support the agricultural projects in the county.
ASDSP is a Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) programme that focuses on capacity building and development of prioritized crops, livestock and fisheries value chains.
It aims to transform the lives, income, food, and nutrition security of value chain actors.
The programme which is in its second phase (ASDSP II) is implemented in all 47 counties and is co-financed by the European Union, the National Government and County Governments to the tune of 5.7 billion.
The programme has so far achieved a significant milestone with an increase in the average productivity of about 20 per cent on priority value chains.
This has seen farmers’ average income increase from sh103 to sh428 and more than 1.3 million additional jobs created on the value chain during the implementation period (2017-2022).
Also present were Agriculture Secretary, State Department Crop Development Josphat Muhunyu, Kuresoi North MP Alfred Mutai, Cooperative Chief Officer Kibet Kurgat, Nyota Ward MCA Hon Wesley Lang’at, Hand in Hand East Africa CEO Albert Wambugu among others.