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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Laikipia West agriculture stakeholders hold World food day celebrations

By Bob Aston
Agriculture stakeholders drawn from Laikipia West turned up in large numbers to celebrate World Food Day whose theme this year was Family Farming:” Feeding the world, caring for the earth.” The event which took place on October 16, 2014 at Sipili auction centre was graced by among others Laikipia Country officials as well as the national government representatives.
Ng'arua Maarifa Centre stand during the World Food Day celebration
Farmers and other agriculture stakeholders were not left behind as they exhibited their products while others came to learn what their colleagues have been doing.
Various government departments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community based organizations (CBOs) and self help groups exhibited their products.
Some of the organizations present included; Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN), Pure Circle Kenya Ltd, Agricultural Sector Development Support Program (ASDSP), Laikipia Produce and Marketing Co-operative Society, Syngenta, Osho Chemicals Ltd, Elgon Kenya Ltd, Pioneer Hi-bred Kenya Limited, Sipili Water Resources Users Association (WRUA), Sipili Location Community Forest Association (CFA), Sipili Cereal Bank, Good Life Sacco Ltd, Lariak Forest Conservation Area Project and International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST).
Government ministries and departments that attended the ceremony included; Ministry of agriculture, fisheries and livestock, public health and veterinary department.
Various self help groups and Community based organizations drawn from Laikipia West Constituency also attended the celebration.
Some of the exhibitors with their produce
Speaking during the event, Mr. Arthur Mathai, Director of Agriculture, Laikipia County encouraged farmers to always attend such functions as they will be able to learn a lot from exhibitors.
He noted that 80 percent of farmers in Laikipia County practice family farming. He urged farmers to adopt drought resistant crops in order to harvest during dry weather. He said that farmers should adopt best farming practices in order to improve their yield.
“We have to think of our environment. Yields are reducing and thus we have to invest on areas that can reduce soil erosion like conservation agriculture. The county government has already started promoting conservation agriculture in Laikipia,” said Mr. Mathai.
He said that the county government has also started training farmers on post harvest handling in order to reduce the 30 percent wastage which normally occur after harvesting.
“We are currently trying to ensure that farmers carry out soil analysis. We want to leave a good legacy for the future generation and we can only do that when we improve on our farming,” said Mr. Mathai.
Mr. Samuel Mwangi addressing addressing participants
Mr.Samuel Mwangi, Deputy Sub County administrator, informed farmers that the county government will start building water pans to ensure that farmers do not suffer again due to drought. He encouraged farmers to venture into horticulture particularly tomato farming which is doing well in the area. This he said will enable them to receive good returns thus improving their livelihood.
He encouraged farmers to make use of agriculture extension officers as they have been equipped to assist farmers. He noted that the county government has started promoting poultry farming and rabbit rearing which he said has experienced a huge demand recently.
The event provided farmers with an opportunity to learn about Climate Smart agriculture (CSA) and best farming practices. The public was also able to see various technologies/innovations that were exhibited by various organizations.
The World Food Day was declared by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to honor the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1945. It aims to heighten public awareness of world food security and strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

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