Migori County government has launched an initiative aimed at ridding the area of tobacco.
County Secretary Cristopher Rusana said the initiative will give tobacco farmers an alternative solution to tobacco farming.
One of the alternatives being tried now include beans.
“Already some of the tobacco farmers have embraced bean farming and they are reaping big from it,” said Rusana.
During the launch of the initiative at the county headquarters, Barrack Okoba a representative from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said they have a key role in tobacco-free farming through sensitization and capacity building of farmers.
Already some of the tobacco farmers have embraced bean farming and they are reaping big from itRusana
Okoba who is also Kenya’s team leader for Resilience Food and Livelihood System added that they are working harmoniously with the County government to make sure that they boost production, increase productivity and profitability of the alternative crops.
More viable crops
Similarly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) through their representative Dr Willy Maina noted that it is supporting Kenya and other countries to implement programmes and policies to assist farmers to shift from tobacco growing to more viable crops.
“WHO being the custodian of this treaty is bringing together all the other UN agencies and local government to implement this programme of free-tobacco farming,” said Dr Maina.
As opposed to tobacco crop which is deemed hazardous to the environment and human health, the availability of its market still attracts farmers to continue farming.
WHO being the custodian of this treaty is bringing together all the other UN agencies and local government to implement this programme of free-tobacco farmingDr Maina
Addressing the market challenges, the Regional Director Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) Simon Camelback noted they have already provided a ready market that has made it more lucrative as compared to hazardous tobacco farming.
“The achievement of a 100 percent transition by farmers from tobacco to alternative crops is fully reliant on the market availability of the said crops,” he said.
Camelback added that they have already set up 48 farmer service centres in the county where four bean biometric tanks were being used for this particular programme.