How Local Crops Will Earn Kisii Residents Millions
Local vegetables are among the leading food security and income generation crops in Kisii County.
Residents of Kisii County have been advised to venture into short-term horticultural crops and vegetable production which are economical and offer high potential in return on investment (ROI).
Local vegetables are among the leading food security and income generation crops in Kisii County. The area that consists of indigenous vegetables is 1,700 hectares, with a total production of 24,000 tonnes, bringing a total earning of Ksh1.17 million to the county.
The main indigenous vegetables grown include spider flower, black nightshade, amaranthus, pumpkin, African Spinach (Enderema) and cowpeas.
Speaking at Magena and Marani during the ground-breaking ceremony for the proposed vegetable aggregation and marketing centres on Thursday, January 5, Kisii Governor Simba Arati said that, the county is leading in vegetable production with about 700 acres of land under native vegetable production.
Kisii County governor Simba Arati, Deputy governor Robert Monda, and Dennis Ombachi Marani MCA during the groundbreaking ceremony for the proposed aggregation and marketing centres. /ELIZABETH ANGIRA
He noted that green vegetable marketing in Kisii and generally within the catchment is disjointed and disorganized and farmers experience post-harvest losses of up to 30 per cent since the vegetables are highly perishable.
According to him, supporting farmers to reap maximum benefits from their toil is a key priority in his administration and the importance of the aggregation Centre cannot be gainsaid.
The county boss noted that most vegetable farmers practice individual marketing and are prone to exploitation by middlemen.
He said that the existing open-air market structures have insufficient sheds to accommodate the vegetable traders among the rest of the value chains hence the need to mitigate this challenge by initiating the aggregation and marketing model.
He noted that with the diminishing land sizes in Kisii, horticulture is highly advisable and vegetable farming is highly recommended for subsistence.
Cold Storage Facilities
Arati added that the county is helping farmers to have the shelf life of their crops enhanced through the provision of cold storage facilities and other forms of value addition besides availing local and foreign markets construction of the vegetable aggregation centre.
This will be essentially a meeting point for all vegetable value-chain players especially producers, traders and transporters - it will be an aggregation point for vegetables from all surrounding catchments.
“Aggregation is one step towards alleviating the challenges faced by our farmers,” he said.
He noted that the pooling together of farmers has an advantage since it will enable them to come together and form an association so that they are able to forge a common approach to market their products better.
Indigenous crops being grown in Kenya. /FILE
“Equally, aggregating of vegetable produce will enable farmers and traders to minimize loses and maximize profits through joint transportation, storage and processing,” he said.
According to him, alongside aggregation, employment opportunities will be available for people from the communities surrounding the proposed investment.
Arati further noted that the popularity and demand for indigenous vegetables had continued to increase due to campaigns on their medicinal and nutritional value.