Laikipia County gov’t in bid to boost coffee farming
The County Government of Laikipia is set to invest more in coffee farming after a research conducted in the area confirmed that the crop can do well in Laikipia West.
Laikipia County Governor Joshua Irungu on Tuesday distributed over 22,000 coffee seedlings to farmers from Gituamba, Marmanet and Githiga areas with each farmer receiving 200 seedlings.
A program set up by the Irungu’s Administration will see more coffee seedlings distributed to farmers from Githiga Ward in an effort to promote industrial farming.
The seedlings include the Batian, Ruiru-11 and SL varieties which when grafted together can not only withstand changing climatic conditions but also produce high yields.
“There is this assumption that we have to plant maize and beans before we can say we have food security. We have relied too much on maize as our main crop and that should not be the case. We haven’t been doing that well and it’s high time we diversified,” Governor Irungu said.
Irungu added that the spirited campaign for coffee as a cash crop would help boost the livelihoods for local farmers who have in the past been grappling with the dwindling production of the cereal crop.
He encouraged the local residents to strengthen the existing co-operative societies so that they can benefit from offers that come with such cash crops as well as macadamia trees.
Speaking on the same, David King’ori Kimotho, who is a coffee specialist and programmes officer with Thika Coffee Mills and Kenya Nuts Company, said it was encouraging to see farmers in Laikipia embrace the cultivation of coffee.
“Laikipia has the right climatic conditions to ensure coffee prospers as a farming endeavor. I urge more and more farmers to take this up,” Kimotho stated.
Coffee farming in Kenya was first practiced in 1893 while Kenya’s coffee is ranked the fourth leading foreign exchange earner after tourism, tea and horticulture.
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