Category Archives: News

Agricultural Value Chain Development in Makueni County

Agriculture best bet for Kisumu County to spur development

By George Abwajo
Published Sat, January 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 5th 2018 at 19:51 GMT +3

Kisumu County has a high unemployment rate of over 50 per cent, inequality and high poverty levels, with the youth being the most affected. These issues are not exclusive to the county but the region has resources it can utilise to change the situation. We are blessed with vital economic triggers. A good international airport, that is grossly underutilised, Lake Victoria and rivers, equally not well utilised, favourable climate and rich soils and lastly a populace rich and talented in arts and sports. Kisumu has very few industries and is mainly sustained by small retail industries and boda boda, which employ thousands of youth. Outside the town the bustling Kibos Sugar, the failed Miwani Sugar and the poorly managed and the loss making Chemelil and Muhoroni Sugar are other notable employers. It means in a county with seven sub counties, six are even faced with lower standards of living than the urban Kisumu Central.


Fishermen worry as lake turns into a death trap Last December, representatives of the youth from all the sub counties met and deliberated on these issues. They decided to come together under a youth movement in the push for socio-economic empowerment. Based on this, the county needs to first transform to a production economy. At the moment, tender servicing and delivery are the main focus, yet this alone cannot accommodate everyone even if the agreed minimum of 30 per cent dedicated to the youth and women is to be honoured. We need to be a generator of real wealth by carrying the youth along, by producing and focusing on competitive advantage. Kisumu has often been described as a consumer town with major supermarket brands praising their branches for leading in sales. While at it, the same cannot be said of banks having branches in the town in regards to money circulation. Which means, savings and loans, two most important money aspects are still very low in the town. Urgent measures Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, a planning expert credited with planning and laying the economic foundation of Kibaki’s Government has already shown the best of intentions from his engagements so far. However, we feel that certain things need immediate attention. It has been projected that by 2020-2025 half the population in Kenya will be living in cities and towns. It means, Kisumu’s population will be expanding at a rate never seen before. Without proper and urgent intervention, there will be more unemployment, crime and other social vices. What is the way forward? Agriculture provides the urgent solution to this problem. This sector, which has a wide chain and links from the planting, production, transportation, logistics, storage and value addition can provide alternative employment and absorption of over half the youth with the best multiplier effect. As more people move from rural setting to urban location, more land will be freed for agricultural production. No bare Land Initiative Kisumu County Government should immediately launch an initiative dubbed ‘No Bare land’. Driving fromKericho County that teems with plantation fields to Awasi and finally Kisumu town reveals a huge contrast. That of underutilised land. That idle land should be filled with either trees or crops.

ALSO READ: Farmers demand pay from State

I believe Kisumu County should not have four sugar industries within a radius of 25 kms. Fact number 1, Sugar is a plantation crop and it is profitable and sustainable when grown on a large scale, hence the small scale farmer, waiting for 15-18 months for harvesting on one acre should be encouraged to diversify into fruit farming and horticulture where a marketing agency can help in exportation. Secondly, we need to move away from the mindset that Kisumu County has to grow sugarcane as its main crop. As we think of diversification, let us transform Miwani Sugar into a Dairy and water processing plant. Let us feed ourselves from what we produce internally. Kisumu County imports over 90 per cent of its milk. Let us find export and internal markets for newly introduced fruit trees and horticultural crops like guavas, avocado, chillies and even watermelons that grow so well in Kisumu. Let us start using waters from our rivers to do irrigation farming immediately. By just planting and increasing the acreage, we shall be empowering residents. Prof Nyong’o, this should start tomorrow. Engage us the youths immediately and bring stakeholders on board. We need to pull together for the betterment of our County.

– The writer is an Economist and Convenor-Kisumu County Youth Movement.

Read more at:”

Public Service Excellence Awards (PSEA) Scheme

Official ceremony on the Public Servive Excellence Awards (PSEA) 2017, held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). Presentation of certificates by His Excellency, Deputy President Mr. William Ruto to Mr. Peter Owoko, ASDSP County Co-ordinator, West Pokot in the presence of Cabinet Secretary, Ms, Sicily Kariuki, Director Human Resource Development (HRD), MOALF Mrs. Catherine Nganga and National Programme Co-ordinator ASDSP Phoebe Odhiambo (Mrs).

Best Practices and Success Stories

Please download PDF document

PSP-Success-Stories-Magazine.pdf (5209KB)

Agricultural Commodities prices for 31.07.2017

OLX starts mobile soil testing for right fertiliser use


Posted Sunday, January 8 2017 at 15:51

Online advertising site OLX has started mobile soil testing in agricultural rich zones ahead of the planting season to provide the right mix of fertilizers bought through its platform. The tests establish the suitability of different types of fertiliser for given locations, said OLX country manager Peter Ndiang’ui. Farmers have been using fertilisers with little regard to the needs of their soils, distorting soil acidity and ultimately affecting crop production.

Mr Ndiang’ui said the right type of fertiliser will address the issues of increased soil acidity from wrong manure use that has seen production on the farms decline.  OLX has partnered with Dutch headquartered Soil Cares Ltd to conduct the test through a mobile soil testing lab comprising a truck equipped with equipment for analysing samples to determine the nutrient levels, deficiencies, acidity and the general health.

Previously, farmers would take samples to agricultural research centres and wait for days to get results. But now, it can be done in just three hours. The testing plan comes weeks after the online advertising site established farm input centres to help farmers’ access seeds and fertilisers bought through its platform.

It has opened two centres in Nakuru and Nyandarua dubbed Kilimo Smart OLX centres and expects to open more units in agro-rich zones. This is the latest agro-based product from the firm that is seeking a share of Kenya’s largest industry in a diversification plan for the company popular for connecting buyers and sellers shopping for clothing, electronics and vehicles.

“We rolled out a plan to set up Kilimo smart centres upon realising the key challenges farmers face in accessing farm inputs. Most of the inputs farmers use currently affect the soil fertility and over a period of time they realise a decrease in yields,” said Ndiang’ui.

Continuous use of the Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertiliser has compromised the quality of soil with the research findings released by the Ministry of Agriculture indicating that almost half of the Kenyan soil is not suitable for maize growing.

OLX has also signed a deal with Mavuno Fertilisers that will see farmers buy the input at a 15 per cent discount and Osho Chemicals—which will offer pesticides. The firm last year introduced an agriculture section that allows farmers to sell livestock, especially chickens, cattle, and fresh produce on the online platform. It was expected that lorries collecting farm produce would deliver inputs like fertilisers to farmers at no extra cost.

OLX has also signed a deal with Mavuno Fertilisers that will see farmers buy the input at a 15 per cent discount. To capture a larger share of the agro-sector, OLX recently introduced an SMS service to ease trading on farm produce and inputs because a huge chunk farmers did not have access to the Internet.

Governors converge for Intergovernmental Forum; Agriculture Sector

cs_sectorGovernors and stakeholders in the agriculture sector converged at the Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa, for the 2nd Intergovernmental Forum on Agriculture Sector, Monday.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mr. Willy Bett said the Intergovernmental Forum brought together a diverse range of value chain players across the agriculture landscape.

“This Forum also recognizes the progress made by the agriculture stakeholders in building a foundation for agriculture renaissance. Agriculture is an integral pillar of Kenya’s Economy directly contributing 30% to the GDP,” he said.

Migori governor called on stakeholders to support the sector, saying it employs about 75 per cent of the Kenyan population and forms a bulk of national revenue through agricultural produce.

Council of Governors (CoG) Deputy Chairman John Mruttu said Agriculture has the potential to deal with unemployment problem in the country. “Intra-Ministry, Inter Ministerial and Intergovernmental Coordination and Cooperation is needed for agriculture transformation and mutual accountability,”said the Taita Taveta governor.

On his part, CoG Chairman Peter Munya emphasised that youth engagement in agriculture was a key issue that needs to be addressed. He further assured that development partners were in full support of the National and County government’s collaboration in the agricultural sector.

The proposed consultation and cooperation mechanism for the agricultural sector was adopted during the meeting.

State bets on new pest-proof storage bags to reduce maize wastage

cs-pictureIn Summary

· Hermetic bags can store maize, beans and wheat for two years, making them disease and pest free for a longer time.

· The new bags were launched Wednesday after years of trials to test their efficiency before being rolling out to farmers countrywide.

Grain farmers will benefit from new storage bags, which do not require the use of insecticides to prevent weevils and other pests’ invasion that have for years seen millions of bags of the produce go to wastage.

The hermetic bags can store maize, beans and wheat for two years, making them disease and pest free for a longer time. This comes as a boost to Kenya’s food security. The new bags were launched Wednesday after years of trials to test their efficiency before being rolling out to farmers countrywide.

It is estimated that over three million bags of maize will be saved from going to waste once farmers adopt the new technology.“These bags are going to play a major role in curbing food wastage that results from post-harvest losses. It is a major step towards improving food security,” Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said during the launch.

The minister said the strategy for increasing food availability to feed the growing population is to ensure proper and better utilisation of food that is already produced. “In this respect, reduction of post-harvest loss is an important strategy to ensure food and nutritional security and improve farmers income in a sustainable manner,” he said.

The representative of manufacturers Bhubhinder Singh urged the government to abolish the 16 per cent duty charged on the bags to enable small-scale farmers to acquire them with ease.  “The cost of these bags is high because of the 16 per cent Value Added Tax. The government should remove this duty to enable small-scale holders to afford them,” said Mr Singh.

The Ministry of Agriculture through the Crop Management and Post-Harvest Unit, in collaboration with USAid-KAVES, Bell Industries, GrainPro Inc, Elite Innovations, Vestergaard and Agro-Z, have united to roll out the adoption of bags in the country.



Status of Agriculture in Africa

Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2016) held in Kenya

Ufugaji wa Kuku Kienyeji

ASDSP Value Chain Development Officer, Kericho county and Chairlady KECOPO discussing Local poultry production in Kenya