Issues Facing the Agricultural Sector in Tharaka Nithi County

By Soko Directory Team / Published March 24, 2016 | 9:29 am





Agriculture is one of the major economic activities in Tharaka Nithi County. The sector comprises of tea, green grams, sorghum, coffee, bananas, mangoes, millet, macadamia and livestock production that include, dairy, beef, sheep, goats and fish.

At the moment, 80% of the county land mass can be said to arable. The rest of the land mass is composed of dry semi-arid flat land with scattered hills and dry valleys. The county has more agricultural land but most of it remains underutilized due to low adoption of modern agricultural practices. The agricultural sector in Tharaka Nithi County is however faced with numerous challenges.

The most notable is high cost of farm inputs, low agricultural mechanization, inadequate market information and marketing skills among farmers and these has hampered the expansion of the produce markets, lack of specialization among farmers that has made bulking of produce from the county difficult.

It has also exposed farmers to exploitation by middlemen and brokers; rampant tree felling that has an effect on climate change, lack of education among farmers on the best agricultural practices to be applied to ensure maximum productivity and low adoption of improved agricultural technology among the farmers.

The low involvement of youth in agriculture has also had an effect on agricultural productivity. Most of the market centers that used to serve as market outlets for farmers have since collapsed due to poor infrastructure. Chogoria, marimanti and Chuka remain as the only main market centers that serve the entire county.

Tea and coffee sector have greatly been affected due to delayed payments to farmers and most farmers have switched to banana, sorghum, green gram and dairy farming. Some areas in the county are very dry thus the need for an irrigation scheme which can go a long way in helping farmers boost food production.


Article by Vera Shawiza.

 




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