SPEECH BY H.E. THE GOVERNOR P.S KHAEMBA, ON THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF KENYA, KITALE NATIONAL SHOW ON 11 TH OCTOBER, 2017
National Government officials
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to join you here at Kitale National Show. I also take this opportunity to welcome all visitors to Trans Nzoia County, “the Bread Basket of Kenya”. The County is endowed with fertile soils and favourable climate suitable for most crops. This positions our County strategically in terms of its overall contribution to the national food security. Agriculture is the main driver of our economy and contributes significantly in terms of income generation and employment creation directly and indirectly.
This Agricultural show is an important event that provides opportunity for Farmers, Traders, Marketing agents and other service providers to access modern farming technologies, establish business linkages and promote agribusiness. It provides suitable opportunity for farmers to learn modern farming technologies, improve farming practices for increased Agriculture productivity, wealth and employment creation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The theme of this years’ show is “Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade”.
Farmers world over are facing numerous challenges such as decreasing land sizes, climate change, inadequate access to equipment and resources. Advances in technology are key to the future of Agriculture as farmers strive to feed the nation with limited natural resources.
The County of Trans Nzoia recognizes the significant role that Agriculture sector plays in meeting the national objectives of employment creation, food security, poverty reduction and industrial transformation that are necessary drivers for economic growth. This is also geared towards achieving the County’s vision of being agro based with a high quality of life for its residents. The County through Agriculture department has embraced new innovations and technologies which include; Tissue Culture bananas, Green house crop production, Conservation Agriculture, High yielding crop varieties , use of Rizofos, plant clinics, development of farmers database, E-extension, Vermiculture, urban & peri-urban farming among others.
In addition, enterprises diversification has been up scaled to enhance farmers’ income throughout the year. This involves promotion of crops such as Tissue culture bananas, fruits trees, Coffee and Tea. Similarly, model farms are established annually in all the 25 wards to show case new technologies and best practices in Agriculture.
We are also addressing the challenge of high costs of inputs as well as declining soil fertility to enhance productivity. In view of this, the County has distributed a total of 143,592 bags of Mavuno planting and 111,584 bags Mavuno top dressing fertilizers since inception of devolution. I thank the national government through the NCPB for complementing our efforts by availing 148,997 bags of planting and 116,678 bags of topdressing subsidized fertilizers this year. This has resulted to an increase in maize production from an average of 15 to 20 bags per acre.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Conservation Agriculture (CA) as a technology is critical to mitigate effects of climate change and high production cost. To achieve this, the County government has procured Agricultural Machinery and Conservation Agriculture Equipment to promote the technology. The future success in farming depends on sustainable production and conservation Agriculture is the option for achieving this objective.
However, Agriculture faces a number challenges. The most recent in the County is the Fall Armyworm Pest (FAW).This year, my government in collaboration with National government carried out interventions towards management of the pest which affected about 30,000 acres of maize across the county. The infestation level which was at 30% was brought down to below 12%. In view of this, there is need for all stakeholders in the maize value chain to collaborate in finding a lasting solution to the problem because the pest continues to pose a threat to food security.
In the livestock sub sector, projects under implementation include; improved local poultry, milk coolers, dairy genetic improvement (A.I), Livestock disease control (acaricide support, routine vaccination of animals and dip renovations) and Livestock feed establishment. Under improved local poultry project, 30,000 day old chicks were procured and supplied to 50 groups (2 groups per Ward) across the county with each group receiving 600 chicks. Ten (10) milk coolers have also been procured and distributed to 10 dairy cooperatives societies. The county has also procured 10 standby generators and water tanks for the societies. The project is aimed at addressing milk marketing challenges due to high perishability of milk.
Under the dairy genetic improvement project (subsidized A.I), 16 service providers have been supplied with A.I kits and 2,900 cows inseminated. Livestock disease control project through acaricide support to cattle dips is also under implementation. A total of 190 communal dips have benefited with 13,600 litres of acaricide since inception of the project in the 2013/14 financial year. In addition, 55 cattle dips have been renovated to increase the number of dips that are functional to effectively manage the tick borne diseases.
In the cooperatives sub-sector, major reforms are being undertaken to streamline their management to make them more vibrant. The promotion of fish farming especially for small holder farmers has also been given priority.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The County is in the final stages of operationalizing the ultra modern bus terminus and business park which will provide a sense of order in the public service sector. The facility will decongest the town roads thus reduce traffic jams, attract investors, increase revenue collection and create employment.
Similarly, the County also targets to enhance maintenance of county roads. Road maintenance Equipments were procured and more than 1700km of these roads have been opened, graded and graveled. Kitale town and other markets have been lit with high mast flood lights and backstreets in town opened up. This has boosted business through improved security and increased business hours which enhance growth of the economy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The County Referral Hospital under construction is nearing completion. Renovation of Mt Elgon Hospital has also been done and new equipment installed to improve the outlook. Twin Ward at Kitale County Hospital is complete which has increased beds capacity aimed at improving the well being of patients. Sub County hospitals at Endebess, Matunda, Kapsara, Saboti and Kwanza have been expanded and renovated. Allocation for purchase of drugs has been increased year after year and more than 1000 new medical personnel hired. In addition, six (6) ambulances have been purchased to handle emergency cases more efficiently and save lives.
In the lands sector, over 5000 title deeds were processed and issued to residents and another 88,000 have been processed by County government awaiting issuance. Recently, our request to the President was honored by allowing the Kenya prisons relinquish their land for town expansion. I believe that this is a great step and will give us much needed room for Kitale town expansion.
The County has constructed ECD centres in Primary Schools and Youth Polytechnics across the County. More than 120 ECD classrooms have been constructed and 766 caregivers hired to increase enrollment. 25 vocational training centres have been constructed and more than 36,000 students benefited from Elimu bursary fund to a tune of ksh.375million.
In Water, Environment and Natural Resources Department, the County has made great achievement by availing clean and safe water to the community which has benefited a total of 177,450 people across the county. More than 300km of water pipeline has been extended, 3 drilling rigs bought, over 33 boreholes drilled, over 60 hand dug wells sunk and 100 springs protected. Clean water access to the residents has increased from 18% to 35% of the County population.
I wish to commend the exhibitors, entire ASK show committee and all those who contributed towards making this event a success. I urge all farmers and business populace to take advantage of this occasion to create networks and linkages for business expansion. I also urge our visitors to take time and visit some of our attractive tourist sites in the county.
GOD BLESSES YOU!