Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Agriculture and water prioritized in Laikipia County

By Bob Aston
Laikipia County Government has prioritized agriculture and water during the 2015-2016 financial year. Speaking during a public forum at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre, Ol-Moran Ward on July 31, 2015, H.E Joshua Irungu, Laikipia County Governor said that they would lay more emphasis on the two sectors to ensure communities are able to improve their agricultural productivity.
Laikipia West Sub County administrator, Sipili Assistant County Commissioner, Ol-Moran and Githiga Ward Administrators, accompanied the Governor. On hand to receive him was Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) Deputy Director. Laikipia County Assembly Speaker and Ol-Moran Ward Member of County Assembly also joined the leaders.
The Governor addressing community members during the public meeting

Governor Irungu said that they have prioritized access to water as communities in the County have been complaining that there is an increase in water related conflict and other problems. He said that he would ensure that organized groups receive water tanks.
“We will work with Water Resource Users Association to ensure that we tackle water shortage. We do not want women and children to continue walking long distances to fetch water,” said Governor Irungu.
Responding to a request made by Waweru Kanja, Chairman Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society on late disbursement of subsidized government fertilizer and the long distance farmers make to access fertilizer. The Governor said that the County Government has reached an agreement with the National Cereals and Produce Board to establish fertilizer distribution centres in various parts of the County.
He added that one of the distribution centres would be in Sipili. This will ensure that farmers in the area to do have to travel to Nyahururu to buy subsidized government fertilizer. He said they would work with Laikipia Produce and Marketing Cooperative Society to ensure farmers add value to their produce.
He urged youths to be involved in agriculture and particularly horticulture. He said that youths would be able to improve their livelihood when they embrace agribusiness.
“Farmers should start practicing agriculture as a business and not as a hobby. Farming is lucrative when we embrace agribusiness. We need to change our agricultural practices,” said Governor Irungu.
Mr. Mugo addressing community members during the public meeting
Anthony Mugo, ALIN Deputy Director said that the organization through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre is exploring various avenues through which it can collaborate with the County government to improve the livelihood of communities in the County.
“As ALIN we appreciate the tireless efforts made by the County Government of Laikipia in promoting the welfare of farmers through both word and deed,” said Mr. Mugo.
He noted that ALIN through Ng’arua Maarifa Centre would be interested in collaborating with the County Government in establishing demos for Climate Smart Agriculture and renewable energy technologies.
He thanked the national Government for availing land for Ng’arua Maarifa Centre. He also appreciated farmers and livestock keepers who have been accessing various services at the centre in order to improve production and access markets.
The Governor was in Sipili to visit various projects initiated by the County Government and to hear from the public about the various challenges that they are facing.
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