Farmers in Dundori in Nakuru County who till land in government forests under the popular shamba system will now access to free fertliser from the government.
This comes after Nakuru County Assembly passed a motion that recognises their activities. The motion was sponsored by Dundori Ward Representative Michael Machembu Chege.
“The purpose of this motion is to recognise people farming in the forest. They have been denied access to fertiliser yet their activities are legally anchored in the law,” said Mr Machembu.
The government free fertiliser subsidy only recognises farmers with land ownership documents such as title deeds.
“Dundori plays a key role in feeding people of Nakuru town and Nairobi and 80 per cent of food production is from shamba system and these farmers therefore should be supplied with free fertilisers,” said Machembu.
Mr Machembu noted that the Big Four Agenda on food security may not be achieved if these farmers are not recognised and given free fertiliser where shamba system and has been a success story.
“These hardworking farmers need free fertilisers and other government subsidies to boost food production in Nakuru County and beyond,” said Mr Machembu.
At the same time the MCA said that the farmers play a key role in conservation of the environment as they plant millions of trees in almost 1,000 acres of forest land.
Currently the land under cultivation in the forest is about 18,000 acres
“This shamba system has also provided employment to young people and if we support them, we shall have helped a generation,” said Mr Machembu who is also the chairperson of Roads committee at the assembly.
Nominated MCA from Dundori Rose Karugi said shamba system will guarantee parents a steady income to pay school fees for their children.
“County and national governments should support this motion as it will create more jobs to jobless youth and reduce crime in the region,” said Ms Karugi.
Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja said agriculture is a key pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda on food security.
Molo MCA and acting speaker Michael Karanja Sonis said the motion will change the food production value chain in Nakuru County and beyond.
Kiamaina MCA Wahome Jambo Kenya said the farmers cultivating in the forest protect the ecosystem by planting more trees.
Other MCAs who supported the motion include Njuguna Mwaura (Elburgon), John Mwangi (Turi), Daniel Kiriethe Mwangi (Waseges), Wilson Mwangi Wachira (Menengai East), Peter Ng’anga (Kabatini), Philip Wanjohi (Lare) and John Njiguna Ndonyo (Bahati).
Past studies by experts have revealed that a well-managed shamba system will increase food production, protect and increase the dwindling forest cover in Kenya.