By Irungu Mwangi – Kna Kerugoya
In a cleverly crafted precaution against future financial dependency, a Member of the County Assembly (MCA) in Nyandarua County is promoting avocado farming to provide financial relief to the local households in the near future.
Kabare Ward Civic leader, Patrick Chomba providing households with primary school going children in his ward with avocado seedlings from which they should generate income enough to pay their children’s secondary school fees in future.
According to Chomba, the growing need for assistance from the people, especially in regard to school fees, sent him thinking of sustainable income generating activities for his people, with the avocado seedling idea proving feasible and sustainable.
“I came up with this idea of proving my people with harsh avocado seedlings which I target to provide for every household in the ward.” He said
Already, he says he has distributed over five thousand seedlings to my members of the community those who come asking for bursaries.
“In store we have over 50,000 seedlings to distribute during this rainy season.” Chomba said
Chomba who has his home at Kutus says he vied and won the Kabare ward MCA position on a popular platform of promising to improve the livelihoods of the people.
Initially, the MCA said, he had promised his people that upon being elected he would at least make sure he provided a dairy goat for every household in the area of his representation.
However, when the dairy goat idea seemed not to work, he developed a second thought last year, when the county government declined to give the much anticipated bursaries, leaving the beneficiaries with little hope.
“As a result many people came knocking on my door asking for help which I was not in a position to provide”, said the MCA
He said as their leader, he was challenged and had to come with a way of making sure the allocation of the bursary request would not be an issue with the people again.
The MCA says the approach of seedlings distribution has, however, changed this time targeting the school going pupils from class five and six in all the public schools at Kabare ward.
“In the programme, I will personally be issuing every class five and six pupil with two seedlings every year, and by the time he or she is admitted in secondary school the student can be able to pay part of his or her school fees from the tree produce, thus minimizing the dependency and eradicating poverty,” he said
The ward representative said in a few years’ time, those in the programme may no longer require support from the bursary fund.
He said he went for harsh avocado for the availability of the market.
“The county government has assured Kirinyaga county residents over the huge market of avocado in china, and therefore the need to grow more: he said.
Chomba said he is encouraging members of his community to make sure at least every house hold plants over ten avocado trees for their future support.
He said the type of seedling he is giving to the beneficiaries is improved to grow at a shorter period between a year or two and gives the most yields in the third year.
“All a farmer is required to do is to make sure the tree has enough manure and water and leave it to grow, therefore not requiring much attention from the farmer.
Harsh, Chomba said is also a favourite product in the market in that it takes longer period of time before ripening and going to waste, thus getting to the consumers in good state.
Chomba wants to lead from the front and has laid out plans of planting over twenty thousand seedling on his farm.
In his avocado nursery, he has engaged 15 workers who carry out planting and grafting of the seedlings in readiness for distribution.
Chomba has also engaged five people for the distribution of the seedlings to schools and for educating the members of the community who would wish to learn the art of grafting seedlings.
“It is free of charge and even schools from around are now coming to learn from our nursery here at Kutus” he said.
He said he gets his avocado seeds from the members of the community before they are prepared for germination and later for grafting.
The MCA say he was involved in bringing together avocado farmers from his ward in the formation of Avocado grower’s cooperative society limited which is now able to market their produce directly to Kakuzi limited.
This has improved their earnings in that they were able to get rid of middlemen who previously exploited the farmers paying them pea nuts for their fruits.
Caption Kabare ward MCA Patrick Chomba in his Avocado nursery at Kutus where he has over 50,000 seedlings in readiness for distribution to class five and six pupils in public schools in his ward