Regional Development Principal Secretary (PS), Idris Salim Dokota has said his ministry will prioritise building bamboo cottage industries in Narok County so that farmers can earn an income from the venture.
Dokota said bamboo farming has multiple benefits among them mitigating effects of climate change and can be commercialised to boost the standards of livelihood.
He spoke Tuesday at Kisiriri area in Narok North Sub County where the Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA) has put up a bamboo seedling nursery holding over 20,000 seedlings.
“We have to prioritise the commercialization of bamboo so that farmers can benefit from the farming. We will do this by building and expanding cottage industries where the farmers can sell their produce,” he said.
The PS reiterated that investing in bamboo farming is in line with the Presidential directive to plant over 15 billion trees in a period of ten years as the move will motivate more farmers to venture into the industry.
With time, Dokota said, the government will expand from the cottage industries to a well-established industry so as to accommodate the many farmers who will venture into the industry.
“The project will promote the Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (SMEs), which is in line with the Kenya Kwanza economic model of bottom-up. We want to begin by empowering the low-income earners,” he said.
ENSDA Managing Director (MD) Ngala Oloitiptip said the authority has planted over 14, 000 acres under bamboo at Nkoben, part of the Maasai Mau forest.
Oloitiptip revealed they have been collaborating with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and like-minded agencies to boost the forest cover.
The MD encouraged Narok farmers to plant bamboo trees for commercialization as well as mitigating climate change, saying his office will offer technical support to the willing farmers.
“Bamboo, unlike other trees, can be harvested for 30 to 40 years. This means the farmer will continue benefiting from the crop as well as conserving the environment,” he said, asking the interested farmers to purchase the seedlings from the authority at a price of Ksh.300 per seedling.
Bamboo can be used to make items like toothpicks, furniture, toothbrushes, candles, wooden brushes, cleanser dishes, clothespins, paper pencils among others.
The plant is also edible and its high concentrations of cellulose is said to prevent constipation and improve digestion.
The PS later visited Ewaso Nyiro leather Factory