CEC member for Agriculture and livestock Gilchrist Okuom addressing Farmers baraza in South East Nyakach (Picture by Norbert Wekesa)
By Harriet Chausiku
The county departments of Agriculture and the Business cooperative held a stakeholders’ forum with farmers of South East Nyakach ward to deliberate on the formation of a dairy cooperative society in the area.
The cooperative is expected to enable farmers to collectively market their products, train each other on better ways of dairy keeping, learn more about various diseases affecting dairy cows and share the challenges and successes they have encountered.
South East Nyakach ward being a highly potential dairy farming area has so far received the highest number of cows from the county government to promote dairy farming in Kisumu.
Speaking during the meeting the CEC member, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom said that the formation of a cooperative society will help take back Livestock production to its pick as it was in the old days.
The CEC member confirmed that the ward received a total of 56 cattle and 18 goats in the last 2 years making it the model ward for dairy production and he is therefore looking forward to the transformation of the practiced Agriculture into an Agribusiness.
He also encouraged more production and assured the residents on upgrading the breeds they have by procuring cattle from different regions and to practice artificial insemination to boost milk production for the market
The farmers were also encouraged to do integrated farming for food security, animal feed and also look at their products from an extensive view which includes the byproducts like cream, cheese and ghee which is exported with its chain of benefits.
The area MCA Ho Johnson Guya said that he is looking forward to starting a Milk processing plant in the next one or two years and would wish to bring both South East and part of South West Nyakach ward residents to work together so that they can be able to produce in bulk and sustain it.
Hon. Guya urged the farmers to take good care of the Livestock handed over to them noting that out of the 14 cattle issued only 3 of them died and the rest calved down with the production of 10 to 16 liters of milk per day.
Hon. Guya also thanked the county government of Kisumu for working together in boosting milk production in the Nyakach sub-county and for the seeds issued to the residents for food and was hopeful that the product will boost food security in the area.
By Harriet Chausiku
The county government of Kisumu in partnership with the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) and other partners held a stakeholder’s meeting aiming towards cotton revival in the lake region at Kisumu hotel.
Addressing the team present through zoom, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o congratulated the team for taking a major step forward and urged the team to work towards implementation.
The Governor assured the team of the county’s preparedness and asked the CEC Agriculture Gilchrist Okuom to present to the cabinet a memo which summarizes their discussion and seeks to put in place the recommendation of the group making awareness of the partners they have in cotton growing and manufacturers along the lake region for allocation of enough resources.
Kisumu county economic and social council had also proposed the establishment of a cotton factory in Kisumu to make among other things sanitary pads.
Governor Nyong’o also encouraged farmers to embark on cotton planting following its advantage as the shortest growing cash crop which rewards in three months.
Cotton seeds are pressed for edible oil and the byproduct which is the seed cake can be feed for our poultry and dairy animals that facilitates increased milk production among others.
Speaking during the occasion CEC for Agriculture Mr. Gilchrist Okuom reaffirmed the team’s commitment to promoting sustainable change to the livelihood of the people.
After the world bank structural adjustment in the 1990s cotton production in the lake region went down and most ginneries became dormant forcing the processing of the products to be done outside the region.
Echoing him is the Chief Officer Agriculture Dr. Paul Omanga who expressed optimism that the strategies kept in place would contribute to the reduction of poverty in the society as job opportunities will be created in both research and information department and also technically with the engagement of the jua kali industry.
Present during the occasion were representatives from LREB, NACOSTI, LBTA, SRI, Gearbox, NITA, AFA, MASENO UNIVERSITY, Rural Youth Development Program and Rivertex among others who joined through zoom.
A team of seven fishmongers from Jubilee fish market led by Mr. Joseph Owino together with Mr. Abisai from chicken basket, today received hand wash equipment and protective gears courtesy of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) working closely with the County Government to help prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus among food handlers.
This initiative which is in line with the county’s COVID-19 response plan seeks to strengthen health protocols and enhance the capacity of traders to address the Coronavirus disease challenge.
FAO through its program dubbed Integrated Country Approach (ICA) meant to boost decent jobs for youth in Agri- food Systems in Kakamega and Siaya along the fish and poultry value chain learnt from the actors that Jubilee market in Kisumu is the main market for fish dealers and the Chicken basket also provides ready market for poultry farmers in Siaya and Kakamega.
It is against this premise that FAO representatives held a consultative forum with fish traders from Jubilee market to ascertain some of the challenges they face especially during this period of Covid -19 pandemic.
In response to their immediate needs and to enhance consumer value on matters food handling, FAO has donated 74bottles of hand liquid soap of one litter each, 10 handwashing peddle basins of 40 litters each, 310 re-usable face masks, 100 packets of surgical face masks. 3 number infra-red thermo guns and 62 pieces of food safety hand gloves.
While presiding over the official handing over of the equipment to the traders, the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom thanked the partners for their timely response.
Noting that businesses have been affected across the globe due to the pandemic, he urged the traders to adhere to the health protocols in order to do business in a safe environment taking personal responsibility to enhance their safety and that of their customers.
“You perform a critical role in consumers lives that is why you were identified for the support. Therefore, you must keep yourself and those around you safe by wearing your masks appropriately and avoid complacency because you are dealing with somebody you know” Mr Okuom said.
He also tasked them to take care of the equipment so that it can serve them longer and that water should be made available in the wash basins throughout for people to use.
The County Executive Member Mr. Okuom was flunked by two Chief Officers from his department, Dr. Paul Omanga and Madam Rosemary Raluoch who also echoed the importance of adhering to the preventive measures including hygiene, social distancing, and regular handwashing among the traders.
By: Emily Mikwa
Community members of Nyakach planting kales on the micro garden
The training session for the extension officers entered day two with a focus on the importance of urban agriculture.
While there is steady rise in human population, more people continue to starve globally hence prompting the adoption of urban farming technologies as a measure to sustain lives and to demystify the notion that farming is mainly for the rural folk.
Urban agriculture also known as urban farming, refers to growing plants and rearing animals that produce food within a city or town.
It also comprises processing and then distributing that produce throughout the city.
The green home technologies such as moist gardens, shade net, micro gardens, key hole garden, hanging gardens, multi storey garden and green houses are progressively emerging as sources of nutrition and food security in the urban and peri urban settlements.
Besides offering food security, urban farming also comes with an array of benefits including job opportunities in line with agri business, community building due to shared responsibilities, it is educative as it involves both adults, youths and children, an ambience of green spaces with aesthetic appeal, reduction of surface run offs and fixing of carbon through photosynthesis.
The emerging farming technologies do not require large parcels of land and the input is affordable hence can be done by anyone. They are also considered a form of exercise to town dwellers who are perceived to only engage in lighter activities.
The major challenge experienced with this kind of farming are the old legislative restrictions on urban farming that should be reviewed to conform to the changing times.
By: Emily Mikwa
CEC Memeber for Agriculture Mr. Gilchrist Ockuom Addressing extension officers of the during their training in Kakamega
Thirty extension officers (TOTs) from departments of Agriculture,Health, Environment,Trade & Cooperative are undergoing a five day training on Urban Agriculture Technologies, crops & Livestock, Aquaculture technologies,Food waste management,Food quality & safety, Entrepreneurship & Business Development at the Golf Hotel in Kakamega
The Trainer of Trainees (TOTs) will later be expected to train farmers and other value chain actors within Kisumu county: specifically in.KisumuWest,Kisumu East,Kisumu Central and Nyando sub counties.
The TOTs will also support grant beneficiaries through capacity building.
This comes at a time when Agriculture department is also putting up a call center to interact with farmers and fisher folk across the county. This is set to be officially launched this Wednesday.
While presiding over the official opening of the training workshop, the CEC Agriculture, irrigation, livestock and fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom thanked FAO for the continued support and for coming in to fill in the gaps on production at a time when the county experienced twin disasters of floods. and Covid -19 that adversely affected production.
He reiterated that the county is doing well in production of traditional leafy vegetables. He however challenged the extension officers that the investment being put in them this day must have an impact in the lives of the people by tapping into the potentials of the adults and youths to bring back them to production.
“We must walk the talk” said Mr Okuom
On his part the FAO inclusive value chains sub program head, Mr Tito Arunga thanked the county for the cordial working relations. As partners, they are committed to improving the livelihoods of the people by impacting on them positively.
The trainings are supported by FAO Kenya under the urban food systems project in collaboration with Kisumu county government.
The session was also graced by the Chief Officer crops, Dr. Paul Omanga, Director Livestock Mr Kakuku, Director crops Mr. Okech,the facilitators Bereta Ngunjiri from Ministry of Agriculture, Rebbeca Wanjiru and Winnie Yegon from FAO, Rael Mwando from MOH, Erick Ogadho the project liaison officer, Rose Achieng the FLAG coordinator among other participants.
By Emily Mikwa