“I want to reassure Tina and others like her that we care about local production and will do everything to promote it. This is because local production creates local jobs for our youths. By creating jobs, our youths will be released from the gony’a syndrome”
What captivated me yesterday while having the honor of conversing and engaging residents of Kisumu County were the painful words and experience of a woman named Tina Achieng in Seme Sub-County. She spoke to me on local production and asked what we can do as a county to promote it.
Tina is engaged in local production of tomatoes, vegetables and eggs. She is very concerned with lack of market for her produce and everyday her heart sinks when she has to lose parts of her perishable products because of lack of market locally, which is crowded with imports of products that we can produce locally. She also pointed out that the imported products are through unscrupulous tycoons who evade tax and thus sell their products at lower prices than her own products, posing a hostile market for her products.
Any Government should address issues on local production of food that we eat but this present government remains clueless. Sadly, other tycoons who have paralyzed our youths through the “gony’a syndrome” by dishing out petty handouts equally remain clueless. I want to reassure Tina and others like her that we care about local production and will do everything to promote it. This is because local production creates local jobs for our youths. By creating jobs, our youths will be released from the “gony’a syndrome” and the increasing insecurity in Kisumu County will be halted and reversed when our youths are gainfully employed.
Supporting local production boosts food security for our people while importing food such as eggs from Uganda, South Africa or even from Latin America kills our local economy. Local production helps as retain money locally, which is good for our local economy. It makes us proud to consume products with three proud words “PRODUCED IN KISUMU”.
Importing products that we can produce locally is harmful to our environment. It causes climate change when we transport them by air, sea or land through carbon emissions in the environment. It worries William, Brian and Tina just as it should worry our clueless government and others.
10 points plan on promoting local food production.
First, establish vocational training centers that specialize on local production, chicken rearing, egg production, supply chain management (from farms, markets up to consumers). Equip the vocational training centers, involve communities to ensure sustainability of such centers, attract and retain the trainers and give provision for demonstration farms on how to produce high quality local products such as eggs;
Second, provide soft loans or credit facilities. This can be done by setting up revolving funds at the county that target the youths, women and other farmers. It can also be done through partnership with private sectors such as supermarkets that buy the local products. The private sector can loan the farmers and deduct repayments by installment when products are delivered. Banks and other financial institutions can also be involved to micro-finance local producers at low interest rates;
Thirdly, establish a sustainable and robust “agriculture extension” service delivery under ministry of agriculture in the County to support the local producers, provide quick treatment whenever needed in the farms, and provide technical advice on local production. The County government should and can also engage research institutes, universities and think tanks on how to produce best quality products;
Fourth, improve infrastructure such as farm to market roads, create storage facilities owned by the community within selected communal centres and reduce cost of doing business by reducing cost of handling, transportation and other logistics related expenses.
Fifth, create ready markets in the county by negotiating on behalf of the local producers to sell the surplus not needed for consumption at the community level. There is enough market in our county to absorb local products such as eggs. We have individual consumers who buy direct from the farms but we also have retailers, wholesalers and we are not short of chains of supermarkets in our county (a new one just joined the market this week);
Sixth, eliminate insecurity that not only discourages local economy but increases cost of doing business because of additional security measures taken by our local producers;
Seventh, work with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), law enforcers and other leaders to create a fair ground for competition by imposing appropriate taxes on imports that flood our markets;
Eighth, provide adequate healthcare to our local producers by establishing affordable and sustainable insurance schemes to cover them when they fall sick and seek for treatment. To those who can afford, link them up with National Insurance Fund for affordable insurance cover;
Nine, link the local producers with insurance firms to insure their products in the event of extreme weather conditions or disease outbreak in chicken farms. This is called “crop insurance’ in the neighboring Ethiopia. There are several insurance companies ready and available for this;
Ten, eliminate corruption in our county as this increases the cost of doing business.
I look forward to that day when we will all be consuming local products stamped with three proud words “PRODUCED IN KISUMU”
The People’s Governor.