Twelve counties have been earmarked by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to train and support organized small scale farmers who are practising horticulture, passion fruit, French beans and snow peas farming.
Speaking in Trans Nzoia County, UNIDO project coordinator Mr. Maina Karuiru said that MARKUP (Market Access Upgrade Programme) is aimed at improving the competitiveness of small scale farmers in the 12 counties through the enhancement of quality and safety standards in a variety of crop value chains including mango, passion fruit, avocado, tea, coffee, horticulture, herbs and spices and nuts.
He added that the programme will strengthen the extension services, promote the concept of good agricultural practices and compliance requirements for better market access. It will also build the capacity of the inspection, testing and certification systems to address the gaps along the entire supply chain of the identified products.
Trans Nzoia CEC for Agriculture Mary Nzomo applauded the initiative and acknowledged that it will go a long way in ensuring farmers are economically empowered through modern methods of agriculture as the trained farmers will be trainers of trainees (TOT) thereby replicating the project to the new groups. She also said that the county is moving towards high value crops but farmers lack sufficient knowledge on best agricultural practices.
Counties selected under the programme include Trans Nzoia, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu, Busia, Makueni, Nakuru, Siaya, Taita Taveta, Homabay, Machakos Embu and Kajiado.