By Leleti Jassor
European Union Ambassador Kenya H.E. Simon Mordue visited Nakuru County to follow up on the Green Horticulture at Lake Naivasha (GOALAN) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by World Wide Fund (WWF) in partnership with Nakuru County Government.
The team led by Agriculture CECM Dr. Immaculate Maina toured 53-year-old Magdalene Wanjiku Mwaura’s farm in Maela ward, Naivasha Sub County.
Amb. Mordue echoed that GOALAN seeks to create jobs, prosperity and wealth to farmers while protecting the environment and preserving biodiversity.
GOALAN is a 4 year (2018-2021) project funded by the European Union to a tune of Ksh 150 million under the Switch Africa Green Programme. It is being implemented in Lake Naivasha Basin(Nakuru, Nyandarua and Narok Counties) with a target of 200 MSMEs(Micro small and medium-size )
The Ambassador noted that with 80% of the Kenyan horticultural exports going to the European Market, the EU would endeavor to strengthen its relationship with Nakuru County.
Dr. Maina emphasized that as a leading export horticultural system the county would ensure farmers continue doing good agricultural practices to maximize production.
She added that in ensuring food safety, the County was ready to work with partners to ensure the production of organic foods for the county and country.
WWF CEO, Mohammed Awer said that through GOALAN, they aim to promote sustainable consumption and production and help farmers access the challenges they face in a unique blend of biodiversity.
Dr. Maina later accompanied Amb. Mordue to KALRO, Naivasha, where he commissioned the indigenous chicken breeding and multiplication unit.
The CECM challenged partners in making the county a forerunner in implementing new technology to farmers.
The 2,000 birds capacity unit has been funded by the EU under the AgriFi Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Productivity Project (AgriFi Kenya CS APP) and through the project, about 1.5 million day-old chicks have been distributed by KALRO and about 700,000 farmers have been trained.
According to Dr. Maina, the county government has set aside about Ksh 10 million to support farmers with indigenous chicken and with that scale-ups in agriculture could only happen with partners in the county and that if projects were aligned to the county’s CIDP to help the county in benefiting farmers through funding and resources.
The two officials finalized by touring BEADA millers in Bahati sub-county on a follow-up visit on a program dubbed Strengthening the Kenya National Food Fortification.
The EU funded project is a collaborative effort between the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT) and the Ministry of Health.
Amb. Mordue said that the EU is committed to supporting Kenya to ensure maize flour is fortified with important micro-nutrients to improve the health and nutritional status of Kenyans.
Dr. Maina recommended that program links with agriculture be able to share the knowledge and benefits of fortification with farmers as well as the address for safety issues facing the county and country.
Fortification improves productivity and reduces health care expenditures by addressing several of the Sustainable Development Goals and can restore nutrients lost in crops as a result of climate change.