Hon. Harrison Ben Mghana
County Executive Committee (CEC)
County Chief Officer
MR. EVANS MBINGA
COUNTY AGRICULTURE STRATEGIES
The Ministry of Agriculture at the county level has been assigned the following functions: crop husbandry, plant disease control, and agriculture development and marketing. This will be achieved in line with the following priorities and strategies.
INCREASE FOOD CROP PRODUCTION
- Increase the acreage under irrigation Promote water harvesting for irrigation;
- Diversify farming enterprises and Promote drought tolerant crops
- Encourage the use of certified seeds and Promote use of modern farming techniques
- Invest in research and development;
- Increase pest surveillance and disease control initiatives;
- Enhance extension services;
- Drainage system improvement in the wet areas;
- Farmers training on proper post- harvest handling of farm produce;
- Construction of storage and cooling facilities for perishable produce;
- Installation of an electric fence to be erected by KWS;
- Establish marketing groups and Encourage the establishment of farmers' cooperative societies;
- Revitalize agricultural demonstration farms in all the wards;
- Promotion of production of high value horticultural crops and high value traditional crops.
SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION
- Promotion of On farm structures e.g. terraces;
- Tree planting campaigns during rainy seasons;
IMPROVE SOIL FERTILITY
- Provide subsidized inputs and promote the use of certified seeds;
- Increase awareness on technologies to increase soil fertility;
- Promote conservation agriculture including agro forestry;
INCREASE FARMERS INCOME
- Establish agro-processing plants/ cottage industries;
- Capacity building on value addition;
- Monitor and disseminate market information;
SUMMARY OF THE LIVESTOCK & FISHERIES
Subject to the Constitution, the County Treasury is tasked with monitoring, evaluating and overseeing the management of public finances and economic affairs of the county government including:
The ranches constitute 1.4 million acres of the Taita-Taveta County. This is 22% of the land mass in the county. There are 28 ranches with over 40,000 members (households) which is 16% of the county population-if we consider an average of families of five then 80% of the population benefits from the ranches. In addition the ranches in TT County are designated as disease free zone (DFZ) in Kenya. This is a big asset for the county since our meat and live animals can be sold outside the country like Middle East and the EU. The ranches, therefore, play a very vital role in generating incomes for our people.
Immediate Future Plans:
- Immediate plans for restocking which requires huge finances.
- Encourage feedlots and feed rations in the ranches-to achieve faster growth and weights-again this requires feed machinery and raw materials based on number of beef animals to be fattened.
- Bring in 10-15 bulls (Boran and Sahiwal breeds) to 10-15 ranches: this requires about Ksh.1.5m and additional Ksh. 0.25m for transport
- Pilot testing on AI. Initially targeting 5 ranches: AI Equipment @ 120,000/=.
- Develop wild life conservancies in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service.
- Construct water pans/dams/water reservoirs from road water run-offs.
- Reseeding the ranches-to produce high quality pastures.
- Introduce dairy ranching by promoting dual purpose breeds like Sahiwal and crosses.
- Design Quarantine zones for new or immigrant animals entering the ranches.
- Map out hot spots and build outposts for surveillance of external animals.
- Disease control via vaccination at subsidized rates.
- Feasibility study on viability of abattoirs and cold chains.
- Develop new and lucrative export markets for both meat and live animals.
The dairy sector is emerging as one of the best investment for smallholder farms especially in the upper zone of the county. It provides nutrition, incomes and social recognition. However, smallholder farmers need to diversify beyond staple production and integrate dairy production into crop systems.
Immediate Future Plans:
- Strengthen the dairy cooperative movement in the county so that we can promote milk bulking and cooling in various areas so as to preserve the milk.
- Work with stakeholders in the industry to increase dairy cows especially through the youth and women groups which requires finances for quality heifers and cows. A good cow costs Ksh. 70,000/= to 140,000/=.
- Encourage goat milk breeds keeping for small farm holders especially in the lower zones.
- Develop the dairy value chain strategy- bulking and mini-processing in order to increase their milk incomes.
- Immediate provision of AI equipment in dairy areas. Each kit is approx Ksh. 120,000.00 and also have transport in the form of motor bikes.
- Training of Artificial Insemination (AI) & Animal Health Assistants (AHAs) personnel.
- Look into the possibility of installing a liquid nitrogen plant.
- Disease control through subsidized vaccinations.
- Develop new markets in tandem with expansion of the subsector.
- Program to promote use of biogas by using plastic bag digesters.
- Promote use of manures to increase soil fertility and also as one way of going organic.
- To have a milk processing plant by the cooperative(s) in the near future.
- Increase fish production by adding more fingerlings and increasing more ponds.
- Construct artificial dams in Taveta in order to increase fish production in a bigger way.
- Promote fish keeping by use of ponds with heavy duty PE linings to reduce water loss.
- Collaborate with the national government on the plan of setting up a fish processing factory in Taveta.
- To ensure fish feed plant in Taveta is optimally used to make fish feed.
- To provide adequate extension services to the fish farmers.
OTHER LIVESTOCK INITIATIVES
- Develop indigenous chicken rearing and layers and new markets for the same.
- Encourage rabbit keeping and markets so as to have contract rearing agreements.
- Promote other species like quails, guinea fowl, ostrich rearing especially in the ranches.
- Promote Goat and Sheep rearing (for mutton) in the very dry parts of the county where beef animals may not do well especially during the dry spells. This should go in tandem with developing of auction rings in specific areas.
- Promote apiary (bee keeping) farming, processing and packing. Therefore the need to form common interest groups and providing equipment for mini-honey processing plants. This will add value to the honey which can be sold in supermarkets in urban areas/ towns.