Pillar Lead Profile
Vincent Morara Gesora, has a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture and an MSc in Agriculture and Rural Development. He is a career civil servant with a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years, having worked in Siaya, Kisii, Turkana and Nyamira Counties in various capacities with the National Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and County Governments.
He has been involved planning, implementation and coordination of various programmes and projects at Sub-county (District) and county level, namely the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Agriculture Marketing Access and Linkages Programme (AMAL), WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) programme, European Union’s Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISEDP), National Soil and Water Conservation Programme, the National Agriculture & Livestock Extension Programme, Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Assistance Programme, National Household Survey on Poverty, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF)/Ministry of Agriculture’s (MoA) Agroforestry for Soil Fertility Improvement Programme among others.
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
The coming together of counties into a regional economic bloc is an epoch of a new beginning. As a pillar, we have outlined the Programmes and projects that we intend to do. THE pillar has four strategic objectives to guide into carrying out the Programmes and projects. The objectives are:
- Enhancing Food and Nutrition Security: This requires emphasis on improving household level agriculture production and productivity. The key enterprises around which food and nutrition security programs and projects can be developed include: Cereals (maize, rice, sorghum, millet); Pulses (Beans, soya); Roots and tubers (cassava, sweet and Irish potato); Fruits and vegetables (avocado, mangoes, passion, banana, tomatoes, onions, macadamia) and Livestock (dairy and poultry).
- Improving Rural Household Income: Increased rural household income requires significant involvement in high value crops and livestock with a clear focus on commercialization of enterprises based on a market economy approach.
- Increasing Employment Opportunities through Agriculture inputs (seed, fertilizer, chemicals, animal feed, machinery and equipment); Milling (Cereals, root and tubers); Food processing (milk, meat, fish, fruits, bananas and vegetables); Leather processing (hides and skins) and Manufacture of agricultural machinery and equipment. Investment in these areas will form the basis of LREB Counties’ industrialization.
- Strengthening Enablers: The identified critical enablers include: Agriculture research and extension; Policy and legislation; Commodities exchange; Associated infrastructure (roads, rail, ICT, irrigation, storage, markets, agriculture information); Disease/Pest surveillance and Control and financial products and services (finance, insurance).
As a pillar we identified some common Challenges which need concerted effort to be tackled. They include: Declining yields-A key challenge with regards to farming is declining yield per hectare and the lowering quality of yields; Poor agricultural practices; Lack of title deeds- Homa Bay County, only 48 percent of land has title deeds, in Kisii this figure stands at 40 percent; Low uptake of research-(KALRO), research findings often do not reach small holder farmers (who make the bulk of producers).; Heavy postharvest losses especially by small holder farmers; Unpredictable rainfall/ low rainfall in some areas; Over reliance on rain fed agriculture; High inputs cost; Flooding; Weak marketing Channels; Crop diseases and pests; Accidental fires that destroy farms; Delayed harvesting by farmers which reduces crop quality and yield; Inadequate market infrastructure namely storage, sales area, loading/unloading facilities; and No organized access to trading and individual credit facilities.
The way to revamp agriculture sector and make our famers and stakeholders see economic sense is though through encouraging them wear agri-business lens. This will be reflected in value chain development. The pillar will focus on 10 value chains initially as follows: cotton, dairy, sugarcane, fish, coffee, avocado, banana, poultry, sorghum and African leafy vegetables
The pillar also identified FLAGSHIP PROJECTS to be carried out as a bloc. They are; Creation of a Commodities Exchange; Skills development and training on improved farm management; High Value Crop Farming: Particularly soya beans, sorghum, floriculture and horticulture; Fish farming; Large Scale Irrigation-Counties with high potential for large-scale irrigation schemes are areas with underutilized yield of high value crops, including Siaya, Migori, Busia, and Bungoma; and Agro Processing & Value Addition
In the agro-processing and value addition, the bloc will focus on edible oil processing factories, sugarcane processing, coffee and tea factories, fruit juice extraction, and milk processing.
There is need to build synergy with all stakeholders and development partners to complete the task ahead of us as envisaged in our Blue Print and also to make LREB’s rallying call of Good Life a reality. Thank you
HON. DR. OSIA MWANJE
CHAIR AGRICULTURE PILLAR