Food security: Governor Lusaka launches free farm inputs to needy, vulnerable farmers

Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka on Monday flagged off distribution of free fertilizer and maize seeds to the needy and vulnerable households across the county ahead of the planting season.

According to county records, a total of 21,900 farmers across the county are set to benefit, with an average of 500 farmers per ward identified to benefit from the free fertilizer and maize seeds.

Each farmer, the county said, will receive two bags of 50kg for planting and top dressing and 10kg bag of maize seeds.

“The subsidy program is aimed at shoring up farm yields and improving food security among the vulnerable households in the county,” Governor Lusaka said during the launch.

He further announced that his administration has factored in a budget towards purchase of dairy cows to be distributed to women and youth groups.

“Farmers’ insurance policy will be effective and those that have been adversely affected by the changing climatic conditions, pests and diseases will be compensated,” he assured.

Currently, farmers are grappling with the hight cost of living, with agricultural experts arguing that this might negatively impact food production.

“I am delighted to receive fertilizer and maize seeds from the government. Such a mover is much better than if we were given food,” said Mr. John Wasiliwa from Bumula.

“Every shilling we get is spent on basic commodities. Personally I don’t see how I can spend money on farm inputs yet children are hungry,” said Benjamin Juma, a beneficiary.

Bread basket

Bungoma county is among the counties regarded as the bread basket of the country, with 90 per cent of residents engaged in maize farming.

The county’s economy is largely pegged on agriculture, residents actively growing sugarcane and coffee.

In September 2022, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua flagged off the first consignment of the Sh3.55b subsidised fertiliser.

The move came after President William Ruto directed that fertiliser be sold at Sh3,500 per 50Kg bag down from Sh6,500.

However, since the exercise, farmers have decried unavailability and inaccessibility to the subsidized fertilizer.

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Antony Nyongesa
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