In a first in Taita Taveta County, the Taita Taveta Farmers’ Cooperative Society (TANAFACO), in partnership with Kenya Crops and Dairy Marketing System (KCDMS) with funding from USAID, commissioned a one-of-a-kind seed processing plant at Chala in Taveta Sub-County that will bridge the gap for high-quality seeds not only within the county but the entire country.
The commissioning of the plant, which was graced by Crops Development PS Kello Harsama and top county leadership led by Deputy County Governor Christine Kilalo, among others, was a fanfare as farmers from the productive Chala-Njukini agriculture-rich belt celebrated the proximity of the plant and what it means for farming.
Kello congratulated TANAFACO, KCDMS, USAID, and the county government for such a timely investment that will ease the scarcity of high-quality seeds that the national government has been spending a fortune on to source from outside the country.
“I would like to congratulate TANAFACO, KCDMS, USAID, the county government, and everyone who played a role in this project. Getting high-quality seeds has been a tall order as the national government has been spending an arm and a leg to source seeds from outside the country,” said Kello.
The PS said that his department is currently sourcing sunflower seeds for the coming short rain season, and due to a shortage of the seeds, some officials from the department are in Zambia to secure a high-quality supply of the same.
He said the seed plant is a timely intervention that will create a sustainable local seed supply chain, ensure an abundant crop yield, and create jobs at the grassroots.
“I cannot underscore enough the importance of such a plant at a time when high-quality seed shortages are a reality we’re currently facing as a country. This plant will go a long way to creating a sustainable supply chain that will improve productivity and create jobs for the locals,” said Kello.
The deputy governor echoed the PS sentiments and said that the devolved unit was open to partnership with the national government and other stakeholders to turn Taveta back to its glory days of being the Coast Province’s food basket.
“We’re determined to work with the national government and other partners to take Taveta back and beyond the glory of being a food basket for the entire coastal region and the country at large,” said Kilalo.
TANAFACO chairperson Peter Munyi said that the seed processing plant opens a new chapter for farmers within and outside the county to sell and access the highest seed quality at affordable rates without fail.
“This is a golden opportunity for farmers in the county and the entire country to sell and access seeds of the highest quality at affordable rates and be sure to get high yields after every rainy season,” said Munyi.
Underscoring the need for partnership in the crop and seed production sub-sectors, KCDMS Deputy Chief of Party, Judy Odongo, said with funding from USAID and support from the national and county governments, they are changing the production landscape for the better in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) across the country and touching millions of lives.
“Our journey, with our partners including USAID and the national and county governments, has seen us change agricultural production outcomes across all ASALs in Kenya and touch millions of lives, and we’re hopeful that our efforts will bear even more fruits,” she said.