AGRICULTURE,LIVESTOCK AND FISHERIES
Kericho County has varying contrasts that excites any wannabe resident or visitor. And as the resident number one of Kericho County, I have always loved the serenity offered by the overflowing green tea foliage. Rainfall patterns support various cash crops, mainly tea and coffee in the highland areas, and sugarcane in the areas around Soin-Sigowet and livestock. Maize is planted religiously across the county though residents have lately seriously taken up potatoes and horticulture production. As the governor, I can therefore speak confidently that I have a team that has not only started taping into this potential, but which is also committed to ensuring that there are tangible economic benefits for the county’s residents. As governor, I will be greatly happy to oversee an economic revolution beginning from the villages and spilling over to our cities. However, let me take this opportunity to also remind all kericho residents and any one wishing to reside in the County that the County’s economic prosperity must be backed by peace and security and driven by a highly educated, trained and dedicated population. I have had to deal with myriad challenges within a year of being elected, especially the teething problems of establishing a functional Government. Needless to mention was the dire situation in which most of the infrastructure was in; Feeder roads, for instance, were non-existent. Education was in a bad state of affairs, while agriculture, the county’s mainstay, faced numerous challenges. Just slightly over a year later, 550Km of roads have been done with a budget of Sh450 million, easing transport and spurring economic activities in the villages. More funds have been set aside for roads construction this financial year. My Government has also secured funds from Kenya Municipalities Programme (KMP) and Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) to pave and tarmac walkways and fill up potholes within municipal areas of Kericho. To ensure that there is effective development at all levels, money has been allocated for each ward to develop and supply water from springs and dams. The education sector being a key development sector has seen us construct early childhood development education centres (ECDE) and demotivated teachers can now afford a smile after the county engaged 750 well paid teachers. Furthermore, 17,000 students in secondary schools, middle-level colleges and universities have benefited from the county government Sh69 million set aside for bursaries in the 2013/14 financial year. This 2014/2015 financial year, the bursary has increased to Sh90 million targeting 26,000 students. And to expand opportunity for improving skills in the youth, we have sought linkages with foreign universities. This will close the gap where the local universities had deficits. To ensure productivity, there are exchange programmes afoot. For example, University of Kabianga has developed connection with Surrey University and New Ulm University in Germany and is initiating new connections with a Swedish university. Besides, the County Government has secured Sh20 million worth of research equipment and books for the university and Sh50 million worth of computers and stationery for primary and secondary schools. The health sector has also been a big beneficiary of the county government’s development Strategy, with 70 health centers, dispensaries and hospitals being renovated and supplied with adequate medicines and non-pharmaceuticals. A major winner is Kericho District Hospital, which is being upgraded to a referral hospital following the procurement of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU). Along with this we have taken on board the devolved health workers and are working very well with them. They are getting their benefits and salaries and we are looking for ways of motivating them further.” Kericho County is home to Mau Forest, the biggest water catchment area in Kenya. The county Is referred to as God’s bathroom as on average, it rains more than 300 days a year.This supports other crops like coffee and horticulture as well as livestock. Kericho has rivers in strategic areas that favour industrialization and modern farming practices. Major towns such as Kericho and Litein are the commercial hubs for the region and surrounding towns in the neighbouring counties. Power has been a major concern for investors and to reduce this cost for sugarcane, tea and coffee farmers, the county Government has brought in an Italian company to set up solar power generation station to produce 40MW at Soin and another to produce 50MW. This will also supply more power for general usage. Development of roads, supply of clean water and security –insecurity is near zero in Kericho town, he says – boosted by street lighting, will support investment. The county government is also dealing with the garbage issue and has secured money to transfer the dumpsite from the town centre to 30km away. It has purchased 40 skips and will buy five hydraulic tractors to pull them to dumpsite. My Government has ensured that Processing of licences has been enhanced by reducing bureaucratic processes. The other incentive is the money being pumped into businesses through loans. Free dipping is envisaged to stimulate farmers to produce more. All these developments I can confidently say that they have been achieved through team work. Kericho County is also home to some of the world’s best long distance runners and endowed With a vast amount of human capital in various areas of specialization ranging from science to arts.