Soya bean and sunflower farming is set to go a notch higher as farmers in Rongai Sub-County, Nakuru County embrace contract farming.
During a farmers’ field day on Friday, farmers expressed their willingness to start the venture.
The initiative is part of an ongoing campaign by leading cooking oil manufacturer Bidco.
The company is working with more than 10,000 farmers countrywide to boost Soya bean production as demand for its products increases.
To ensure a smooth flow of information Bidco is working with Safaricom Digi-farm and government partners at national and county levels.
Kenya Livestock Production Association has been contracted by DigiFarm to provide technical support to farmers.
Others partners include Apiculture Ventures, a company contracted to provide bee-hives and apiculture training to all sunflower farmers who need bees for pollination.
The function was also attended by the Nakuru County Youth Board which has a membership of 600 young people.
One of the major challenge facing sunflower and soya bean farming in Kenya is lack of certified seeds.
Bidco chairperson Vimal Shah called on the national government to increase investment to boost production.
“Lack of quality and affordable soya and sunflower seeds is a major hindrance to the growth of the sector,” said Mr Shah.
Bidco is currently depending on imported seeds from Uganda to meet the current deficit.
The Chief Administrative Secretary for Crop Development, Agriculture Research and Cooperatives Anne Nyaga said the government is committed to create jobs through agriculture.
“President Uhuru Kenyatta administration is committed to create jobs for the youth within the agricultural sector by addressing the numerous challenges facing young people who are willing to get into agribusiness,” said Ms Nyaga.
She observed that multi sectoral partnership will lead to a drop in the cost of production and make food prices affordable by 2022.
She urged farmers to respect the investment from private partners by adhering to contract guidelines.
She urged the youth to regularly visit their respective county agriculture offices to get information on grants and programmes targeting them.
She commended the Nakuru County government for investing in extension services.
Nakuru County Agriculture Executive Immaculate Njuthe Maina said the devolved unit is committed to secure any investment in the sector to ensure investors and farmers reap from their investment.
“There is a big potential jobs in agro-processing and Nakuru County government is keen to support such venture,” said Dr Maina.
The programme requires more seeds since the available raw materials can only support 1,000 farmers in Migori and Homa Bay counties.