Farmers in Kirinyaga County are set to benefit from a donation of BT cotton seeds from the American government following a visit to the County by US Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter.
The US Ambassador made a tour of Kirinyaga County on Tuesday where he was hosted by Governor Anne Waiguru at the county headquarters before proceeding on a tour to the county’s mass egg production projects.
Mr. McCarter said 40,000kilograms of BT cotton seeds will be given to farmers to plant during this rainy season.
The government legalized commercial cultivation of BT cotton last year after years of trial at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) center in Mwea.
The ambassador said that cotton growing presents enormous investment opportunity for farmers in the county since there is huge shortage of supply of cotton in the textile industry in Kenya.
The two leaders discussed on areas of mutual investment collaborations with the ambassador saying that America is now focusing on the counties as a way of implementing impactful programs that will reduce dependency on aid and move towards self-reliance.
He noted that the US government is now moving towards more with the County governments since the devolved units are nearer to the people and hence more accountable and accessible.
“I am a firm believer in devolution and that is why we have visited Kirinyaga County which is endowed with great resources that would form the basis of our mutual collaborations” he said.
Governor Waiguru said that Kirinyaga County has many areas in which it can partner with the US in order to realize its development agenda. She said that there exists enormous opportunity in the agricultural sector but marketing of farm produce still remained a major challenges.
She singled out coffee and rice as some of the cash crops that have the potential of turning around the economy of the county but farmers are still suffering due to lack of market or bureaucracies around the marketing of their produce.
She noted that while the county produces some of the best coffee in the world, farmers still earn meagre pay since they have to sell through cooperatives and brokers.
She also said that her administration has been supporting farmers in diversifying agricultural activities to reduce overreliance on conventional cash crops such as tea and coffee, noting that the bilateral talks explored on creating trading pacts between Kenya and America whereby the latter can import rice that is grown in Mwea Rice plantations and coffee.
The ambassador toured Wisdom Kathaka Self Help Group in Kirinyaga Central Constituency which is involved in egg production project and also chicken feeds factory at Kiaga.
At the same time the ambassador donated 117,000 re-usable masks to the County Government.
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