Bungoma county governor Kenneth Lusaka has spoken on the need to empower residents so as to reduce the dependency ratio and poverty level in the county.
While addressing a delegation of over 100 coffee directors who had paid him a courtesy call at his Webuye Residence to present a memorandum on issues affecting coffee farming, he said that there is need for the residents of Bungoma to reduce the culture of dependency.
Lusaka said his government will support unions to ensure that farmers are self-reliant through provision of subsidized farm inputs. He said that the county government has already bought 150 dairy cows and is in the process of increasing the number to 400.
He also challenged the farmers to make use of the chicken slaughterhouse that has been established at Chwele market and the giant milk processing plant to be established in Bungoma town. The slaughter house will be slaughtering 10,000 chickens per day while the milk processor will be processing 1000 litres of milk per hour hence there is need for enough raw materials. He also said the county government will set aside Ksh. 50 million as a revolving fund for coffee farmers.
The directors from 35 coffee societies were led by Mr. Josphat Makhanu the chairman Bungoma co-operative union who thanked the County Government for giving them a grant of Ksh. 19,728,391 which they used to clear their suppliers.
They asked the governor to address the problems facing coffee farmers in the region like poor infrastructure and operations, capacity building for farmers and management, lack of proper marketing structures and networks and the security of both their coffee and farmers. They also lamented the lack of weighing bridges, warehouses, weighing scales and automatic generators.
They presented a budget of Ksh 49 million to the governor which they said would help address the challenges mentioned, saying the money would cater for the construction of warehouses, cupping labs and husk houses. Part of the money would be used to purchase electronic weigh bridges, automatic generators, coffee roasters and establishment of coffee nurseries in 33 societies.
Mr. Lusaka asked the coffee stakeholders to be patient as the county works on factoring the sector in the next budget cycle and pledged that the coffee mill will be completed soon and they would receive additional trucks.
Mr. Lorian Kolikho the County executive Member Ministry of Farming and Livestock was also present in the meeting.