State unveils plan to promote horticulture farming
Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has said it is rolling out a new strategy aimed at promoting horticulture farming as a profitable venture.
Paul Rono, principal secretary of the State Department of Agriculture in the ministry, said implementation of the strategy has ensured that 20,000 smallholder farmers undertake horticulture farming as a sustainable business.
He told an international workshop on smallholder horticulture empowerment and promotion held in Nairobi that the approach that is expected to reach smallholder farmers with extension messages has helped increase farmers’ income by more than 80 per cent. Rono added that the approach that was developed, tested, and implemented in Kenya has so far been adopted by 60 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and South America where it is being practiced.
He added that Kenya is keen on transferring skills and knowledge to the farmers, ensuring they realise livelihood transformation by embracing agribusiness. The result, according to Rono, is to increase small-scale farmers’ incomes, increase agricultural output, and transform value chains. Alice Nyagah, the project’s national coordinator, said it is being implemented in 20 counties in western, central, and coastal Kenya, where horticulture farmers are growing watermelon, onions, kale, okra, tomatoes, cowpea, potatoes, and amaranth.
She said the strategy’s overarching goal is to ensure the producers understand the marketing conditions of the intended crop before they kick off the production process.