The US Government has donated 40 tons of BT cotton seeds to Kirinyaga County farmers a year after the Government legalized commercial cultivation of BT cotton.
The announcement was made when Governor Anne Waiguru hosted the US Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter at the County headquarters.
The Governor later took the Ambassador on a tour of the county’s mass egg production projects.
The seeds will now be distributed to farmers for planting with the legalization coming after years of trial at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) center in Mwea.
The Ambassador said cotton growing presents an enormous investment opportunity for farmers in the County since there is a huge shortage of supply of cotton in the textile industry in Kenya.
The two leaders discussed areas of investment collaborations, with the ambassador saying the US is now focusing on the counties as a way of implementing impactful programs that will reduce dependency on aid and move towards self-reliance.
He noted that the move to engage County governments has born fruits saying the devolved units are nearer to the people and are more accountable.
“I am a firm believer in devolution and that is why we have visited Kirinyaga County which is endowed with great resources that would form the basis of our mutual collaborations,” he said.
Governor Waiguru said Kirinyaga County such partnerships will help the County realize its development agenda adding that there is enormous opportunities in the Agricultural sector yet marketing of farm produce remains a major challenge.
She singled out coffee and rice as some of the cash crops that have the potential of turning around the economy of the county but farmers are still suffering due to lack of market or the bureaucracies around the marketing of their produce.
Waiguru noted that while the county produces some of the best coffee in the world, farmers have nothing to show of it due to exploitation by cooperatives and brokers.
She said her administration is supporting farmers in diversifying agricultural activities to reduce over-reliance on conventional cash crops such as tea and coffee.
The Governor revealed that the bilateral talks explored ways of creating trading pacts between Kenya and the US where the latter can import rice that is grown in Mwea Rice plantations and coffee.
The ambassador toured the Wisdom Kathaka Self Help Group in Kirinyaga Central Constituency which is involved in egg production project as well as the chicken feeds factory at Kiaga.
At the same time the ambassador donated 117,000 re-usable masks to the County Government.