The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) formerly known as the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) held a stake holder’s workshop at the Acacia Premier Hotel, Kisumu.
The workshop brought together stakeholders from the western region sugar industries with the aim of deliberating on electricity co-generation of sugar industries in the country.
Speaking during the event, the Director General of EPRA, Mr. Pavel Omieke stated that Kenya has been ranked 7th globally in geothermal consumption, adding that Kenya approximately has 13 sugar manufacturing companies and that there is need embrace embracing innovative ideas in the sector.
The workshop gave some of the challenges faced in sugar industry and co-generation which include; reduction in sugar cane growing due to delays in farmer payment, shut down of some sugar industries and their co-generation and mismanagement.”One major challenge is the issue of raw material supply.” Said Mr. Solomon Odera, the Sugar Directorate of Agriculture and Food Authority.
An overview of the big four agenda was emphasized citing manufacturing as one of the four key pillars of the development agenda. The EPRA deputy director of energy research and policy analysis Dr. John Mutua pointed out the 2019/2020 budget which allocates 700 million shillings allocated for farmers adding that sugar industry holds the key to transforming manufacturing industry.
According to Dr. John Mutua, the co-generation potential in Kenya was estimated to be about 300MW most of which will be generated in the sugar belt areas in Western Kenya. This was aimed to increase the diversification of investment plus in job creation and economic growth.
The workshop also challenged county government’s role in supporting sugar cane farmers by linking them to the milling industries.
Expectations from the workshop was that there would be linkages between EPRA and the sugar industries in the region and a new website, erc.go.ke formed to link everyone including the millers.
By Beatrice Akinyi, Wendy Noel and Lurie Zweri
Plans are under way to establish agricultural land for production in Kisumu County.
The County government through the department of Agriculture has planned to establish 10,000ha of productive land for agriculture in the county.
A special committee on Agriculture headed by Prof. Raphael Kapiyo of Maseno University and County Director of Agriculture, Mr. Sospeter Oketch, Kisumu East Sub County Agricultural Officer, Lake Basin Development Authority, Great Lakes University and NEMA Representatives paid a visit to the West, East and Central Kolwa wards with the aim of assessing and identifying potential agriculturally productive lands.
The Mboha and Nyamthoe Agricultural Development and Technical Committee was on the ground earlier this week to explore the productivity of lands around Mboha and Nyamthoe and to come up with plans to involve local farmers in commercial agriculture production estimated to feed the Nyanza Region as a whole.
While addressing the committee, the Chairperson of the East, West and Central Kolwa land owners, Mr. Noah Ong’udi expressed member’s commitment to support the project in achieving sustainable food production with the hope that the flooding menace that affects the area will be dealt with once and for all.
The department of Agriculture, has promised to work hand in hand with local farmers over the next farming seasons to achieve economic empowerment through employment of youths in farms while boosting food production for the people of Kisumu.
By Russel Vick
Edited by Matilda Atieno
Rice production in the county could soon double up under a new program initiated by the County government and the Ministry of Agriculture where the programme being implemented is Capacity Development Project for Enhancement of Rice Production in Irrigation Schemes (CaDPERP) under technical cooperation agreement with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
This will see new techniques introduced during production with the same replicated in other areas to enhance productivity and open up new markets for rice promotion.
In a stakeholders meeting chaired by the Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili today, the National Government through the state department for crops development agreed to partner with the County Government with key emphasis placed on up scaling the agricultural value chain.
He was joined by County Ministers, Gilchrist Okuom(Agriculture), Salmon Orimba (Water and Environment), Mr Masahiko Murakami Ph.D (JICA) and representatives from the National Irrigation Board.
Governors on the sugar task force committee want farmers paid the Ksh2.6 billion owed to them before any public participation can be initiated.
In a meeting held at the Grand Royal Swiss Hotel in Kisumu, the leaders faulted the Agriculture Ministry over their slow pace of processing farmers’ payment despite a presidential directive that farmers be paid before end of last year.
Led by Kakamega Governor and co-chair of the committee Wycliffe Oparanya, the leaders suspended any planned public participation with farmers until their demands were met.
Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur was confident of treasury releasing the funds on time despite delays experienced.
The government he said had already audited submitted farmers’ lists and it was only a matter of time before their dues were paid.
Oparanya however moved in to stress the government stance on the matter after a phone conversation with Treasury CS Henry Rotich.
The Governor confirmed that Rotich had assured him that payments would be made to farmers by end of next week.
Senators Fred Outa (Kisumu), Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) and their Homabay counterpart Moses Kajwang voiced their displeasure over the slow pace despite farmers delivering their end.
They accused the government of hoodwinking farmers with fake promises as they demanded solutions not stories on the payment stalemate.
The sugar task force constituted by President Uhuru Kenyatta is co chaired by COG chair Wycliffe Oparanya and Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.They were tasked with finding the solutions on problems bedevilling the sugar sector.
By Collins Owuor
Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili yesterday joined the International Livestock Research Institute Chief of Party Dr Romano Kiome in an official inspection tour of a milk cooling plant in Muhoroni
The 10,000 litre milk plant has opened up the county’s agriculture potential with the agricultural department already stepping up efforts to enhance food security.
According to Owili the county government is equipped with much emphasis put on crop, livestock and dairy production, remarks echoed earlier by the Agriculture CEC Gilchrist Okuom.
The department of agriculture has already issued more than 180 dairy cattle to farmers in the region. The developments have led to increased yields in dairy production as the county government banks on an agriculture driven economy to enhance food security.
In his part Dr. Kiome lauded the county government for their willingness to involve local farmers on agriculture. He promised to actively engage the county government as he urged the area farmers to maximize their output in agriculture production.
According to Kiome, agriculture alone contributed to 36% of the country’s GDP thus bolder steps had to be made to enhance its sustainability.
The department of Agriculture, Food Security, Livestock and Fisheries has pledged to work hand in hand with various research organizations to enhance technological advancement in agriculture to promote sufficient food production since agriculture still stands to be the back bone of the Kenyan economy.
Speaking during a field day organized by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) at Kisumu’s Kibos ground, the County Minister for Agriculture, Food Security, Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Gilchrist Owuor Okuom, stated that the County Government of Kisumu is keen in investing more resources in Agriculture since it is the leading pillar for the Country’s big four agenda.
The field day which brought on board a number of stakeholders showcased various farming technologies available for use by the practising and potential farmers to enhance high productivity.
The director General for KALRO Dr. Elude Kirege, urged Kisumu residents to embrace modern farming technologies and also invest more on research findings to boost their agricultural produce. He added that KALRO has 16 research centres nationally dealing with animal services, value edition, and promotion of modern technologies in agriculture,
KALRO receives Ksh 4.8 Billion from the National Government yearly and an addition of Ksh 2 Billion from the Donors to enhance agricultural productivities and sufficient research studies.
By Erick Omollo