The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is conducting a study on the African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) in Kisii County with an aim of boosting production and consumption.
The study which is implemented by the Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Activity (KCDMS) will also address aspects of value addition and show the actual potential of vegetable varieties in the county.
The study follows a request by Governor James Ongwae who had wished to know the distribution of various vegetables in the county and the production level.
Speaking in his office when he met a team from KCDMS led by Beatrice Tanui, Ongwae said the study was long overdue as it will tell the volume of vegetables produced, what is consumed at the source and the percentage that goes to the market.
“The study will provide a deep assessment of the ALVs production, marketing systems with emphasis on demand and market linkages as well as key destination markets in Nairobi, Mombasa, Eldoret among other regions,” said Ongwae.
The governor who was accompanied by his deputy Joash Maangi regretted that vegetables like Managu (African night shade) and Chinsaga (Spider flower) are produced in plenty in Kisii but farmers are exploited by middlemen who buy from them at a throw away price.
“The study will be a turning point for our farmers especially the mama mbogas as it is set to alleviate them from the hands of middlemen,” said Ongwae adding that it will identify and analyze emerging opportunities for private sector investment.
The governor is rooting for large production of indigenous vegetables for export to foreign markets that can enable local farmers to make more returns.
“The Kisii Community has a large population of Kenyans living in the diaspora.I know that if we get our way out.Farmers investing in indigenous vegetables will make good money,”he said.
The Deputy Governor pointed out that it will analyze the supply and demand factors and identify trends and opportunities for enhanced efficiency and quality.
Tanui indicated that the two months study will also identify and sketch the trade routes, main marketing corridors, main market catchment areas as well as sourcing areas during peak and off-peak season for vegetables.
“The study will describe the key market outcomes in terms of seasonal price variations, annual market demand, deficits and potential within the main strategic wholesale markets around the county as well as main destination markets,” she said.
The County Executive Committee member (CEC) in charge of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperative Development Esman Onsarigo said primary data will be collected from small scale farmers, traders, key informants including relevant government ministries, businessmen as well as consumers.
The CEC said his department is working with KCDMS to ensure a successful completion of the study which will address challenges facing farmers specialized in GLVs.