There is a green revolution
sweeping the Kenya
agricultural sector. This wind
of change is gradually revitalizing
the sector. It is not agriculture as
usual. The industry is highly paying
reclaiming its niche as the backbone
of the country's economy.
Crystal clear farmers can see when
they farm in a professional manner,
farming pays well. This is the lesson
that Kerio Valley Development
Authority (KVDA) is trying to diffuse
to farmers in Uasin Gishu, Baringo,
Turkana, West Pokot, Samburu, Elgeyo
Marakwet and Nakuru counties.
KVDA has established five; 16 × 30m
greenhouses at Eldoret city for tomato
production. These greenhouses
were bought from Hortipro at a
cost of Ksh. 900, 000 each.
The agency's Managing Director;
Dr. David Kimosop said this project
targets diffusing specialized farming
to farmers, as well generating income for sustainability of KVDA's mandate.
"Most farmers in Uasin Gishu
depend on maize and beans that
are rain-fed. We want to change
this by showing farmers that using
greenhouses, one can plant anytime,
plants that mature within a short
time and generate more income than
maize and beans", said Kimosop.
Besides Uasin Gishu, other regions
under KVDA's term of office are
populated with pastoralists whose
livestock depends on rain for pasture
and water. With a high infiltration of
arms; scarcity of these resources
has often led to severe conflicts
and the initiative by KVDA will
greatly contribute to the mitigation
of the resource spawn conflicts.
Dr. Kimosop said, "We put our
first greenhouse under tomato
plantation in October 19th, 2013.
By 13th January, 2014; we had our
first harvest and we were able to
recover our initial investment for thegreenhouse in the first season".
According to Barbanas Kiplimo,
the Project Manager, one tomato
crop yields 15 kilos per season.
4-5 tomatoes make a kilo which
translates to 60 fruits per plant.
Each greenhouse carries 2000
tomato plants; with a kilo going
for Ksh. 40, KVDA gets Ksh. 600
per plant and Ksh. 1.2m every
season from each greenhouse.
"Harvesting is done twice a week.
Tomatoes have seven economical
months. You plant and start
harvesting from the third to seventh
month", added Barbanas.
Sam Kona; the Chairman Kerio Valley
Development Authority said that the
government agency established in
1979 by an Act of Parliament Cap
441 of the Laws of Kenya aspires
to give Kenyans a business chance
through the greenhouse project. "We are teaching our people
utilizing agriculture for income generation, which in turns creates
employment resulting to improved
quality of lives", adjoined Kona.
Further the chair said, "KVDA aspires
to be a resource for farmers in the
6 counties it has presence in. We
want farmers to look up to us for
technological innovations and
information. Kerio Valley Development
Authority, supplies farmers with water
for irrigation and livestock; is engaged
in conservation of water catchments
to save people in the lower riparian
from water shortages and through
this we are relieving conflicts in
many watering points at the same
time addressing food insecurity".
Moses Khaemba; Sales and Marketing
Manager Hortipro told Hortfresh
Journal, "Our greenhouses are done
single or multiphase, en suite with
PVC gutters for rainwater harvesting.
On the side, they have insect proof
net, which economizes pesticides
use. Additionally, they are fitted with
roll up mechanism for temperature
regulation; use galvanized steel; have
good gutter height for maximum
space usage and allows crop support.
Drips spaced 25cm, 30cm and 45
cm and any customized drip spacing
available. More our greenhouses have
lockable doors and entry porch which
can be used as a store, it is where we
place the entrance sanitization pad".
On 14th March 2014, Bungoma
County Governor, Ken Lusaka will
launch 52 greenhouses built by
Hortipro. 45 of these greenhouses
are for every ward and the other
seven for special places such as
Mambanga Agricultural Training
Centre where the launch will be held.
Barbanas ascertained that
Hortipro's work is standardized and
construction schedule observed. "Hortipro started by soil analysis.
They did diagnosis on nematodes,
fuserium, bacterial wilt among
others, after which soil fumigation
was done. This is the reason for this
quality harvest. To maintain this soil
performance, after two years we will
crop rotate the tomatoes with other
high value crop not in the same
family with tomatoes", he added.
This pilot project has borne a
working prototype that KVDA ishopeful to replicate in Lodwar and
Baringo counties. "We have asked
Hortipro to build other three 16× 30m greenhouses in Lodwar, a part
from this, we are partnering with
the County Government of Baringo
for similar initiatives", the Managing
Director affirmed. KVDA is working
with other government agencies
to market produce, plus looking for
ways to add value to tomatoes.
Kerio Valley Development Authority
started with hydro-electric power
generation; establishing Turkwel
hydro-power project in 1991.
After gaining cognizance of the
enormous resources around it
for farming, the agency ventured
into farming promotion.
Apart from horticulture and
hydro power generation; KVDA
has these other projects: honey
production; bee hive production;
processing maize seed; catchment
conservancy and food security;
Wei Wei integrated multipurpose
project and fisheries development.
Dr. Kimosop said together with other
stakeholders, KVDA has in the past
championed planting of fruit trees.
Today, the authority is aiming to
plant 5 million mango trees in the
next three years which will generate
Ksh. 400 billion in four years.
"Resources within KVDA area are
not yet fully utilized. Thus, we have
wrought an Integrated Regional
Development Master Plan 2013-2033
to steer Kerio Valley Development
Authority region development
to higher heights. In addition,
we are supporting devolution by
empowering farmers at the grassroots",
Source:David Kimani-Hortfresh Journal