Farmers in Nyamira County have received over 30,000 avocado seedlings, courtesy of the Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’i.
The County Commissioner Amos Mariba who presided over distribution of the seedlings, told residents that avocado is the most sought after fruit because of its nutritional value.
He said people from other countries where weather conditions are not favourable for its growth are partnering with others like Kenya where it can be grown as they provide a ready market.
“I know we still love our local varieties for their ‘bigger sizes’ but the truth is that they are valueless in the international markets, but the Hass variety though small in size, takes the shortest time to mature and was in high demand at the global market, with very high economic returns for those farming it,” Mariba said.
For instance, Kenya has partnered with China which has promised to offer a ready market for that kind of avocado because it has several other uses like producing oil and nutritional supplements, other just consuming it as a fruit, the more reason why we should diversify our farming ventures, added the county commissioner.
The Director of prison farms in Kenya Patrick Kariri, who was also present, thanked the CS for the kind gesture to farmers in the area saying it will go a long way in fulfilling one of the President’s big Four Agenda on food Security and also support the government’s drive to achieve 10 percent forest cover by 2022.
”Nyamira county is a good ecological zone for growing avocado naturally, but it remains underutilized for its residents to reap maximum economic benefits.
Farmers in this area must explore other income streams, besides what they were currently engaging in, so as to make their lives even better,” he said.
Kariri disclosed that Nyamira GK prison was identified as one the correctional institutions to implement one of the country’s farming flagship projects geared towards rehabilitating inmates through agricultural training and also generate revenue to support the government in food Security and nutrition.
On his part, the County Assembly Speaker Moffat Teya who also witnessed distribution of the seedlings said the devolved unit fully supported the programme aimed at diversifying agriculture in the area.
He said the County government will partner with the local GK prison with a view to contracting the facility to grow and supply the local department of agriculture with affordable Hass avocado seedlings, which are normally procured at exorbitant prices from prescribed agricultural institutions owing to their high demand.
Nyamira GK prison has so far nurtured 100,000 Hass avocado seedlings which will be sold to farmers at subsidized prices to generate income to the institution.
In the long run, the avocado fruit will also boost the nutrition uptake among the area residents and also make the region food secure.