Coffee farmers hailing from Murang’a County have expressed appreciation for the government’s endeavors aimed at rejuvenating the struggling coffee subsector.

In the past, coffee farming served as the primary economic pillar for numerous farmers in the region. However, its decline left many impoverished, struggling to sustain their livelihoods and provide for their families’ basic needs, including education and sustenance.

During a NGAAF projects Economic Empowerment forum organized by Murang’a County Woman Representative Betty Maina in Ichagaki, Maragua constituency, local farmers voiced their readiness to reengage in coffee cultivation, buoyed by the government’s commitments.

Joseph Kamande, a farmer, highlighted the shift in sentiment among farmers, indicating a willingness to replant coffee on their lands. He emphasized the importance of the government fulfilling its pledges, particularly in restructuring the cooperative movement and identifying new markets for coffee cherries.

These sentiments were echoed by James Kimani, another farmer, who shared his intention to transition back to coffee farming, underscoring the significance of the government’s assurances in facilitating this shift.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s recent announcement in Maragua, promising to waive outstanding debts owed by farmers through their cooperative societies, further bolstered farmers’ confidence in the government’s commitment to revitalize the coffee sector.

Betty Maina, the Murang’a County Woman Representative, acknowledged the importance of debt relief and market exploration but emphasized the need for additional measures to invigorate coffee farming fully. She advocated for the adoption of new coffee varieties to enhance returns on investment and maximize profitability for farmers.

Maina stressed the significance of grafting old varieties and supporting farmers with seedlings of improved varieties to boost productivity. She highlighted the inefficiency of tending to unproductive coffee bushes, which consume substantial resources without yielding commensurate benefits.

Members of the County Assembly, led by Caroline Njoroge, emphasized the pivotal role of coffee farming in revitalizing local economies. They emphasized the potential for increased coffee production to empower farmers economically, reducing reliance on government aid programs.

Simon Wamwea, Ng’araria ward MCA, urged agricultural extension officers to resume farm visits and provide guidance to coffee farmers, promoting best practices to enhance productivity.

In another agricultural development, the Pyrethrum Processing Company of Kenya (PPCK) advocated for the adoption of organic pesticides and insecticides among farmers. Managing Director Mary Ontiri emphasized the safety and efficacy of pyrethrum-derived products, urging farmers to embrace organic alternatives for pest control.

Ontiri highlighted the resurgence of pyrethrum farming following sectoral revitalization efforts, noting the potential for organic pesticides to replace synthetic alternatives. She underscored the economic viability of pyrethrum cultivation, encouraging farmers to expand acreage under the crop for enhanced returns.

Additionally, the government’s commitment to improving livestock production through modern breeding techniques was underscored by Dr. Bishar Elmi, Director of Livestock Production. Elmi highlighted initiatives aimed at distributing artificial insemination semen to enhance livestock quality across 31 counties, emphasizing the role of modern technologies in bolstering agricultural productivity.

Efforts to establish feedlots and modern slaughterhouses were cited as crucial interventions to mitigate the impact of drought and improve meat production for local and international markets. These initiatives, combined with training programs for farmers, aim to promote sustainable livelihoods and economic resilience within rural communities.