For the last four months, a partnership between the County Government of Siaya and development partners has seen the training of farmers and setting up of demonstration sites to equip them with hands – on skills on finger millet production.
Through the Collaborative Agri – tech project led by experts at UK Agri – Epi, Harper Adams University, Strathmore University, Agronomic services provider Newscape Agro systems and technological services provision company USOMI, over 30,000 farmers are targeted in the next four years to exercise farming best practices with a guarantee of selling their grains to millers and processors.
Dr. Denis Mujibi, Chief Executive of USOMI confirmed that the 18 month project ending in February next year will ultimately revolutionize the production of an orphan crop that is highly nutritious to the young and elderly. He added that this will be easily achievable when there is a mindset change by all players.
While on an evaluation exercise earlier this week in Siaya and Busia, Dr. Peter Okoth, Chief Executive at Newscape Agro systems limited expressed her commitment and excitement in working with small holder farmers to ensure they produce enough for subsistence and for sale.
On the other hand, Mr. Jackson Achuti, North Sakwa Ward Agricultural Officer indicated that the project is viable enough to transform the lives of local residents. He expressed his appreciation for the knowledge he had acquired with seven other extension officers from the projects’ experts.
“We are in the process of disseminating the much acquired skills to local farmers who we hope will visualize its economic potential of paying bills in their homes. We are recruiting more farmers so that in the long run, finger millet production ceases to be an orphan crop in Siaya”, said Mr. Achuti.
Finger millet grain is highly nutritious. It is favored by and recommended to breast feeding mothers and is also often fortified with other grain as a supplementary food for children and elderly.