Governor Kaluki Ngilu’s flagship programme- The Ndengu Revolution this week made another milestone when it brought together high profile national and global participants to a roundtable to underwrite its sustainability.
The meeting held on Wednesday, March 27 at KEFRI, Kitui also brought agriculture ministers from the counties of Kwale, Kilifi, Makueni, Muranga and Samburu which is seen as recognition of Kitui’s leadership in the production of green gram (Ndengu).
The main objective of the conference is “to bring under one roof all the Key Actors in the Ndengu Value Chain with the aim of creating synergy for sustainable wealth creation”
Governor Ngilu was represented at the event by her deputy Dr Wathe Nzau.
A new joint initiative known as the National Agricultural and Rural Improvement Programme (NARIGIP), supported by the World Bank, in partnership with the National and County Governments is investing a whopping Kshs.21 Billion in 20 counties, to among others, improve the productivity and profitability of grassroots agricultural activities through a Value Chain / Value Addition approach, over a 5 year period.
The initiative resonates with Mrs Ngilu’s Five Pillar Manifesto of Food and Water, Healthcare, Education and Youth Development, Women Empowerment and Wealth Creation. The Ndengu Revolution cuts through all the pillars as it provides food, boosts health, engages youth, empowers women and creates wealth for residents.
The conference comes as Kitui, for the first time in history, is missing from the list of famine struck counties. The governor launched The Ndengu Revolution days of her inauguration in 2017 and is now on its 4th season, Two weeks ago, the governor launched a new set of tractors to plough for 20 days at least two acres each for the most vulnerable farmers, targeting 5,061 acres for this subsidy.
The high profile organizations at the meeting included the World Bank. SNV Netherlands. The universities-South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU), Kenyatta University(KU) and Egerton University and Research Institutions ( KALRO and Katumani.
Others were top officials of the newly formed Kitui Business Community Group comprising of hawkers; Mali kwa Mali, Bodaboda operators, Retailers. Wholesalers, Hoteliers and Manufacturers. Other players included several leading Agro- Chemical Companies and dealers, Kitui based Co-operatives, the media, several banks and financial institutions based in Kitui and farmer’s representatives drawn from farmers’ common interest groups from each of the 8 Counties
A notable personality at the conference was Mr Dushyant from Capital Reef Hotel, Mombasa who took the first flight from the coastal city to Nairobi, then hired a car and drove all the way to the forum, drove back to Nairobi. the same day to catch the 8.00 pm flight back home
KItui County has lined up four value chains for support under NARIGIP which include the Ndengu Revolution Value Chain, the Honey / Hive products Value Chain, the Local Poultry Value Chain and the Mango Value Chain;
The Governor’s Manifesto targets, in the end, to move an array of Value-added products from the farmlands of KItui to the plate in nearly every household for Kenya, regional and Global customers in carefully selected Countries throughout the world.
According to Dr. Temi Mutia, the Value Chain / Value Addition Specialist in the office of the Governor, the Ndengu Revolution Programme’s first phase targets major investments in critical areas along the Ndengu Value Chain, including Marketing and Market Access, establishment of aggregation, Warehousing centers, a transport logistics plan, Ndengu threshing, Winnowing facilities a trade and Financing Plan, an Applied Skills Development Programme and the Ndengu Post Harvest Management.
Other speakers at the conference included Kitui’s Agriculture Minister Mr. Emmanuel Kisangau, World Bank’s Dr. Micheal Njuguna, Mr. Gerald Masila- CEO- East African Grain Council, Dr Grace Mutua- The Chairperson of the Agriculture Committee in the County Assembly and Mr. Dushyant – A director of Capital Reef – Mombasa and one of the Leading Ndengu exporters from Kenya.