Makueni County Government has procured 34.6 metric tonnes of assorted seeds valued at Sh7M to be distributed to farmers across the county before the onset of the expected El Nino rains.
Out of the total, seeds worthy Sh2.4M will be dispersed to Kilili/Nzaui ward residents as a project under the 2015/2016 budget while the rest will be shared among the remaining 29 wards.
Agriculture Executive Jacobus Kiilu addressing the press in Mbuvo, Kathonzweni during the commission of the Mbuvo Solar Power plant said the assorted seeds include 16.5 tonnes of maize of DH02 and DH04 varieties, 12.5 and 8 tonnes of cow-peas and green grams respectively.
He said the seeds, which will given to farmers starting this week have been sourced from the Kenya Seed Company and Kenya Agricultural Research Organization (KARO) and called on residents to plant only certified seeds for good yields.
Kiilu noted that the county government was targeting to distribute over 100 metric tonnes of assorted seeds and disclosed that his department was working in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders to bridge the gap.
“We are working closely with the National Drought Management Authority and the National Government to meet our target and also ensure that there is no duplication of roles,” he said.
Concerning the El Nino rains, the Agriculture Executive urged residents to reap maximum benefits from the rains by planting different varieties of crops saying that the yields are likely to be higher due to the enhanced rains.
“Besides enhanced recharge of water table, crops and fruits will perform much better while pastures will be replenished and this will ensure steady supply of food for the livestock,” said Kiilu.
He added that the county government has set up sub committees which will collaborate with the National Government agencies to help residents cope with the rains and cautioned residents to prepare for floods and not to cultivate near rivers and dams.
Although Makueni County is classified as arid and semi-arid, with the expected El Nino rains are expected in some of the regions that are prone to floods and land slides.
The hilly regions of Mbooni, Kaiti and Kilungu are likely to experience landslides while Nzaui and some parts of Kibwezi East and West will experience floods. During the last rainy season hundreds of residents from Nzaui were displaced due to floods and the situation is expected to get worse during the El Nino rains.
Meanwhile, the county requires Sh300M emergency fund in preparation of the rains. According to the County Drought Management Officer Daniel Mbuvi who is a member of the disaster management committee the money will be used to establish a rescue center, evacuation purposes, provision of emergency health care and to create awareness.