By Cheki Abuje
The county Government of Busia has in the last three years injected a whooping more than Kshs. 150 million to revamp agriculture in bid to address the growing challenge of food security. Africa science news can authentically reveal.
The county, which lies within the agricultural zone of western region, has, in the first years of devolution, directed its energies towards ensuring food security for its rapidly swelling population.
In an exclusive interview with Africa science News in Busia town, the county executive Member for Agriculture Moses Osia disclosed that a considerable amount of money has been spent in the sector to achieve the food security goal, adding that the department is keen on promoting and facilitating production of food and Agricultural raw materials from local industries.
He noted that the county has purchased tractors and farm implements at a tune of Kshs. 70million. He said, during this planting season, his department has bought fertilizer (DAP & APK) and certified seeds worth Kshs. 18million. The farm inputs are to be sold to farmers at a subsidized price. Osia however, clarified that farm input access programme costs the County Kshs. 40million annually.
“We want to mechanize agriculture so that our people, especially the youth can be to employ themselves in the sector” observed Osia,
The county executive member reiterated his focus to revitalize agricultural sector in ensuring food and nutritional sufficiency for the people of Busia and beyond borders through partnerships. Some of the partners include One-Acre fund, Farm Concern, ICS among others.
Agriculture department receives only 5percent of the total county budget, and according to Osia, the allocation should be increased to meet the challenges of food security.
Busia County has always relied on neighbouring Uganda for food staffs, but the measures put in place by the County government points at self-reliance in food provision.
However, food insecurity in Busia county remains at 67percent despite the interventions, thus threatening the nutritional requirement of the population’s vulnerability to malnutrition diseases.
Nonetheless, with non-state actors coming on board, bright future can be predicted. Already the Japanese embassy is partnering with locals in Budalangi to putting up a multi-million value addition factory on Omena.
Additionally, Africa science News has established that the county government of Busia has rolled out a loan scheme dubbed “Agricultural development Fund” targeting the youth and women entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. The loan attracts a 5percent interest.
The challenge of food security in sub-Saharan Africa is often seen exclusively as of feeding an ever growing human population. Worryingly, food production has constantly failed to keep with population growth.
Osia appealed to farmers to revise their strategy of crops to plant, urging them to once again lean towards planting climate change resistant crops like cassava, millet, sorghum and other climate-adaptive crops that performs better in this region.