Vihiga County government has distributed leafy vegetable seeds, organic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides worth Kshs. 6 million to 3000 farmers in order to increase production of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs).
This is the second time the county government was distributing ALVs inputs to farmers since the horticultural initiative was launched in the county by the county boss in 2019.
The beneficiaries were drawn from all the 25 wards, with each ward producing 120 recipients.
Among varieties of the ALVs that were given to the farmers included, Lidodo (Amaranth), Likhubi (Cowpeas), Lisebebe (Pumpkin leaves), Lisutsa (Black nightshade), Miro (Sunnhemp), Murere (Jute plant), Tsimboka (Redroot pig weed) and Tsisaka (Spider plant).
Speaking when he issued the inputs, Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo urged farmers to invest more energy towards horticultural farming, with focus on production of traditional vegetables for both subsistence and commercial purposes.
“Since Vihiga, unlike other counties, is disadvantaged in terms of small land coverage coupled with population pressure, however our farmers could still get it right by diversifying to horticulture farming,” said Ottichilo.
The Governor exuded confidence Vihiga County will soon be synonymous with production of varieties of the traditional vegetables.
“This is one of the main reasons my government decided to boost farmers with the necessary seeds and fertilizers. Due to their nutritional and medicinal value, the market demand for traditional vegetables both locally and internationally has tremendously shot up,” said Ottichilo.
Scientific research has revealed ALVs are known to be rich in vitamins, proteins, minerals and micronutrients such as selenium, zinc, potassium, beta-carotene, iron, foliate, copper and iodine.
They have also been found to have medicinal value in addressing illnesses such a diarrhea, eye and renal ailments, hypertension and even HIV/AIDs.
Otichilo assured the local ALVs farmers that plan by his government in conjunction with Ministry of Social Services to construct a cold storage room at Chavakali market were at advanced stages.
“Thus, the cold room initiative should in fact encourage you towards production more ALVs as it will address current storage challenges and enable you seek better prices for your hard work,” the governor told farmers.
He further appealed to the small scale farmers to form Savings and Cooperative Societies (Saccos) in order to pool their resources and have a better bargain at the market place.