BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
Four coastal counties and Taveta subcounty to benefit from the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA)’s distribution of 310,000 and 280,000 cashewnut and coconut seedlings respectively to farmers this year’s long rains season.
Under the Big Four Agenda towards meeting the target of food and nutrition security for all, the AFA is in the process of implementing a seedling programme to reach farmers in Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River, Lamu and Taveta Subcounty.
According to the authority’s extension officer David Makokha Kwale County will receive 100,000 and 80,000 cashewnut and coconut seedlings respectively while Kilifi will get 100,000 each for the two seedlings.
“The remaining out of the 590,000 seedlings for the two cash crops will be shared by Tana River and Lamu Counties with Taveta Subcounty receiving 15,000 for the same,” he says when interviewing him in his NSSF 6th Floor office in Mombasa.
Already AFA has been conducting public barazas in different counties to create awareness of this distribution with the caveat of farmers preparing their farms in advance based on the specifications of 12 and 10 metres apart for cashewnut and coconut seedlings respectively.
“Without registering with us (AFA) and preparing your farm to our specifications you will not get the seedlings for planting,” Mr Makokha warns saying they will do physical checkups before giving out the seedlings to farmers.
In his WhatsApp post, a Kwale farmer and politician Nicholas Zani wants interested farmers to register themselves through their respective counties’ Ward Agriculture Officers (WAOs) and National Government administration Officers (NGAOs).
He explains that in the areas where there are no WAOs farmers should contact their immediate chiefs or assistant chiefs for directions and assistance to reach the designated personnel of the programme.
“Immediately commence land preparation as this is mandatory requirement for one to qualify for the seedlings,” he adds.
According to him the cashew nut seedlings will be distributed at the WAOs and farmers will collect coconut seedlings from the nearest coconut nursery operator after approval by the WAO/AFA.
This programme is expected to be launched immediately on the onset of the long rains.
“Please urgently alert farmers in the six coastal counties to visit their WAOs (if none is available, please visit your chief) to register for this critical program,” Mr Zani urges. He adds that if anyone visiting the WAO/chief and issues arise farmers can text him so that he could be their messenger to forward their problems to the AFA office.