Siaya county government on Tuesday procured seven brand new tractors and ploughs to boost the cheap tractor hire ploughing service ahead of the long rains expected in March.
The new tractors have been purchased at a cost of Ksh31 million.
While unveiling the machines outside his office, Orengo said that they had intended to procure 10 but due to a battered economy they only managed seven.
Orengo stressed that Siaya’s pathway to industrialization and modern economy will be through the griculture.
Accordingly, he called on residents to embrace agriculture and support the mechanization of agriculture that he is spearheading.
“We encourage our people to take agriculture seriously because it will enable us to transition from a subsistence economy to a modern economy,” said governor Orengo.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, over 184,000 people in Siaya are engaged in smallholder farming.
The county chief observed that majority of whom are engaging in subsistence crop farming.
“Due to low-income levels, mechanization is low in this production system leading to drudgery and subsequent low yields,” he observed.
He said that lack of mechanization and government support has pushed many farmers into poverty and escalated food insecurity.
The County Assembly of Siaya through a supplementary budget had in November 2022 allocated Ksh31, 089,078 for the purchase of 10 tractors.
Farmers who will use the tractors have been promised free seeds.
The supplementary budget also allocated Ksh120 million for the procurement of subsidized fertilizers and seeds.
Earlier, the county led by governor James Orengo repaid and commissioned 10 tractors that have been ploughing for residents of Rarieda and Bondo Sub Counties at a subsidized rate of Ksh2000 per acre.
Speaking shortly after the unveiling of the 10 brand new tractors, South Uyoma MCA Michael Adiala alias Password hailed the step as one in the right direction.
“We are so happy because we were using refurbished tractors but these 10 brand new ones are going to better mechanize production and make our people food secure,” Adiala said.
The county aims at significantly increasing the acreage under active agriculture production.
Orengo’s ‘Nyalore’ (It’s possible) administration projects that it can be able to plough upto 125,000 acres per season.
This will be possible with one tractor per village, says Orengo’s government.
The county’s department of agriculture and food security has proposed an additional 36 tractors.
“The acreage targets will grow as the department aims at revamping the agricultural mechanization service to a t leats two tractors per ward by 2024/25 to achieve 7,500 acres per season,” Orengo said.
In the near future, Orengo said that the county is expecting another 20 tractors to expand the size of land under crop production.
Of the 10 new tractors, 2 are to be retained in Alego Usonga because of its expansive size.
Siaya has six constituencies and seven sub-counties.
The refurbished tractors had started work in Uyoma, Rarieda Sub County.