County Chief Officer for Agriculture and Land Reclamation Janerose Tioko has this morning in Lokichar opened a 5-day workshop for groundnuts farmers on organisation development, legal issues and community food systems.
The objective of the workshop is to develop the capacity of the groundnut producers to be able to take advantage of the market opportunities and enhance resilience amongst farmers.
In her remarks, CCO Janerose urged the farmers to utilise the workshop to acquire knowledge for nutrition value, sustainability and increased groundnuts production to aid targeted commercialisation of the crop in Turkana.
The groundnut crop, the Chief Officer told farmers, had proved to be a high yielding crop in the 250 acres where it had been piloted and hinted at plans by the county government to engage investors on establishing a factory and linkages to source market for the crop.
CCO Janerose lauded Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO) for promoting cohesiveness and farming by integrating the Refugees and host communities through the Refugee Agricultural Value Chains for Economic Self Reliance (RAVES) project.
The four-year project funded by the IKEA Foundation, identified the groundnut value chain as a potential crop for sustainable income generation as well as nutrition security for both the host and refugee community.
She regretted that climate change was frustrating efforts to bolster food production and assured that the Government was committed towards partnering with all stakeholders including private actors to achieve its agenda on food security.
Prolonged drought, erratic rainfall and low water levels in irrigation schemes as well as low adoption of good agricultural practices on groundnuts have been identified as part of challenges facing growth of the crop in Turkana.
Deputy Director for Agriculture Victor Lochee emphasized on the need by farmers to increase the current acreage for the groundnut crop to move from subsistence farming and urged them to practice crop rotation in their respective irrigation schemes.
The workshop organised jointly by the County Government and FAO and attended by County Technical staff and Community based facilitators has drawn farmers from Turkana West, Loima and Turkana South Sub Counties.
Others who spoke included FAO’s Lodwar Field office representative Ambrose Ngetich and Turkana South Deputy Sub County Administrator Bernard Iria.
The farmers are being trained by County Agribusiness Officer Eli Karani and County Crop Officer Gabriel Okata, among other frontline officers.