Laikipia county governor Nderitu Muriithi is spearheading a drive aimed at making an estimated 203,000 acres of land more profitable by encouraging farmers to adopt the concept of contract farming. Contract farming has become increasingly attractive to farmers not only because of better earnings but also due to the assurance of payment in good time.
This is unlike the normal farming where prices keep fluctuating. Muriithi says farmers involved in contract farming will be connected to buyers, in addition to getting support from sponsors to grow specific crops.
“There is need to improve the entire value chain to ensure regular income for the farmer and availability of a crop for the sponsor,” he says.An example is a farmer who may sign a contract with East Africa Maltings to either grow sorghum or white millet. “The farmer will grow the crop for the firm under a contract.
He is assured of a regular income and on the other hand the firm is assured of timely crop delivery,” says Muriithi. He hopes farmers outside the sprawling ranches associated with human-animal conflicts over scarce water resources in time of prolonged drought will benefit from the initiative whose purpose is to increase food production.
“Migrations by pastoralists in our county precipitate resource- based conflicts that perpetuate hunger and poverty. This slows down social development and hope for economic integration. My government is investing in strategies that reduce migration. This is not just a Laikipia county but a regional problem,” he says.