By Adieri Mulaa
Busia Governor Paul Otwoma has pledged to support farmers in the county to increase production of robusta coffee as a cash crop.
The governor says his administration will focus on increasing acreage under robusta coffee and provide capacity building, including provision of extension services to the farmers for better yields.
Robusta coffee thrives in low level altitudes in Kenya, particularly in Western and Nyanza regions which are most suited for the crop.
Otwoma was speaking in his office last week following a meeting with the executive chairman of Busia Robusta Coffee Growers FCS, Mr Leonard Murwayi.
The discussions centered on the need to expand robusta coffee production in the county and value addition as an alternative cash crop and potential means of livelihood for farmers in the county.
Mr Murwayi said Kenya imports all instant or soluble coffee that is consumed in the country. He noted that instant coffee is made from robusta coffee and stressed the need for increased production of the crop for commercial value.
“We have over 1500 robusta coffee farmers across the Busia county with production of over 25tonnes annually”. We will increase these figures in terms of the farmers and production, Otwoma said.
The governor who has rolled up his sleeves and embarked on service delivery upon assuming office, explained that Busia had the opportunity to be a game changer in production of instant or soluble coffee which is currently imported.
“My administration will ensure to increase acreage under robusta coffee. We will also provide capacity building and other necessary extension services to robusta coffee farmers for better yields and quantities”, said the governor.
Otwoma has also focused on improving the public health sector in Busia county which has greatly deteriorated. Virtually all government hospitals in the county lack basic and substantial services.