Inside Governor Wavinya’s ambitious Chakula Mezani Program

Over 20 counties in the country have been hardly hit by the ongoing drought largely caused by failed rains. According to NDMA (National Drought Management Authority), The drought in September continued to worsen in 20 of the 23 ASAL counties with three more counties sliding into the alarm phase – Laikipia, Tana River, and Athi River.

Makueni and Kitui counties are listed in the Alert drought phase. While Machakos has been left out, the failed rains have resulted in hunger across the rural parts of the county. During campaigns, Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti used the slogan “Chakula mezani, Pesa mfukoni” which means food on the table and money in the pocket.

But how does Governor Wavinya intend to go about this?

Speaking at Ekalakala in Masinga end of last week as she flagged off tilling tractors that will plough farms across the county, Wavinya said that the program dubbed Chakula Mezani was committed to enhancing food security in the county.

The Governor revealed that 3,040 farmers were going to be the beneficiaries of the program and their lands would be tilled by county tractors while seeds would be distributed in every ward where 1,500 farmers would be beneficiaries of the free certified seeds. This is targeted to happen before the commencement of the short rains next month. For now, only 10 tractors are available but addressing Machakos MCAs last week, Wavinya promised to have the remaining 30 repaired so that they can join the program.

“Those whose shambas are going to be tilled are 3,040 farmers, when we are done with that we shall start the Chakula Mezani, Pesa Mfukoni seed program and I have said that in every ward 1,500 farmers will be able to get seeds,” Governor Wavinya said.

The governor further assured farmers that their produce would have a ready market from the county government whose main aim would be to store the produce and use it in times of shortage.

“We shall ensure that we look for a market because have said that there is no Machakos produce that we shall sell at a throwaway price, we will buy our own food and store it so during famine we shall be giving to our people at a reasonable price,” she said.

A mango processing plant is set to be built at Matuu, Yatta sub-county where the livestock sale yard will also be operationalized.

Over 200 farmers will also receive incubators to do chicken rearing across the county and another priority will be the revival of coffee cooperatives in Kangundo and Matungulu sub-counties.

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