The County Government of Busia today issued cheques to 110 groups across six wards worth Sh62.5million, bringing to Sh82.5m the total issued in the three phases of the project to over 4,500 beneficiaries.
Of the 4,536 beneficiaries, 2,781 are females. Phase 1, saw the disbursement of Ksh 20m to 40 groups and implementation is complete.
The Governor H.E Sospeter Ojaamong who presided over the ceremony at Busia Agricultural Training Centre also issued six data collection tablets for technical officers and Artificial Insemination containers to groups.
In his key note address, the Governor thanked the Department of Agriculture through Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture (KCSAP) initiatives for supporting his government’s efforts in revamping Agriculture in the county.
“County residents should support the project in endeavour to benefit in terms of food on the table and money in the pocket. (Chakula Mezani, Pesa Mfukoni), employment creation and income generation,” he said, urging them to cultivate the culture of savings, and to use the money for intended purpose,” the Govenor said.
The County chief noted that the initiative is aimed at empowering the farming community to undertake commercial farming in the four value chains including fish farming, cassava, indigenous chicken rearing and sorghum farming.
He added: “The funding to groups is another milestone of empowering the communities to venture into agribusiness instead of relying on white-collar jobs which are non-existent currently.
The agricultural sector is the main source of income in the county. It employs about 78 per cent of the workforce and contributes about 50% to the household incomes.
Deputy Governor, Moses Mulomi said the county government has made strides in revamping agriculture in the county by injecting Sh100m to help farmers, adding that over 450/dairy animals were distribimuted to farmers in the last financial year.
Agriculture Executive, Dr Moses Osia said KCSAP initiative is meant to eradicate poverty in the four value chains of cassava, sorghum, Fish indegenous poultry.
KCSAP Director, Dr Allan Ogendo said Sh 20m was disbursed to 40 groups, adding that Sh38m was distributed to 71 groups in the second and Sh24m to 39 groups in the third phase of the project.
Bunyala South Member of the County Assembly Hon Casper Ajuma lauded the Governor for implementing devolution to the grassroots, noting that the grants has improved thirdfold the economic well-being of the people of Bunyala South Ward.
Recipients of the grants narrated success stories that has changed their livelihoods vowing to intensify their effors in revamping agriculture production in the county.
First phase beneficiary on Cassava chain, Roseline Akochi said the new variety of stems they received has improved cassava production in Amukura Central Ward, adding that they are now suppliers of stems to recipients of other phases.
Okalecheru Self Help Group from Chakol South which received a breeding stock of 210 indigenous chicken, has been multiplied to 1000 and made sales of 400 birds valued at Ksh 320,00 within a year.
The introduction of fish cage farming and aquaculture parks has reduced pressure on Lake Victoria which had been threatened with overfishing of immature fish.
Promoting cassava and sorghum growth in the county will increase food production. There are many value addition that can be done to cassava, floor blending such as cassava flour mixed with sorghum or finger millet (Atapa in Ateso).
Consumers can also have cassava chips, crisps, chapati, cakes and chocolates from sorghum and finger millet. Others include
sausages, samosas and porridge blended from fish (omena and soya).