Kirinyaga County has disbursed Sh117 million meant for the empowerment of farmers in the region.
The funds will be invested in various farming development projects in a bid to increase agriculture production in the county.
According to Governor Anne Waiguru, the funds will go into implementation of the second phase of the National Agricultural Rural Inclusive Growth (Narig) projects which include poultry, dairy, avocado, tomato and pig production among others.
The projects are being implemented by 314 community groups.
While disbursing the cheques to the various groups in Kutus on Wednesday, Ms Waiguru said that the funded projects are part of the Wezesha Kirinyaga programme which aims to make agricultural activities bring better incomes and improve the livelihoods of the county’s residents.
She said that the projects will economically empower residents by enabling them to diversify their agricultural activities and reduce over-dependence on traditional cash crops whose prices are unreliable.
Among the 314 beneficiaries are 45 poultry farming groups, 60 tomato growers’ groups, 30 avocado production groups and 60 dairy farming groups.
The poultry farmers have been funded to a tune of Sh22.5 million to undertake mass egg production projects.
The governor said that the county will provide each of the groups with 1,250 improved kienyenji chicks, adding that the project will complement the ongoing phase one project in which 32 groups are already producing eggs.
The county will also provide chicken feeds to the farmers for the first six months of the project while marketing of the eggs is being done through Kirinyaga Investment Development Authority (Kida).
The tomato growing groups will receive Sh30 million for construction of greenhouses and drip irrigation systems. The project is tied to the proposed tomato processing factory that will add value to the produce and address post-harvest losses.
Sh15 million will goes towards supporting avocado growing groups with seedlings, with an aim of increasing production.
At the same time, Sh30 million will go to the dairy sector to improve cow breeds through an improved artificial insemination.
Governor Waiguru said that with Kirinyaga being an agricultural county, her administration is committed to ensuring that farmers get value from their produce.