The County government of Kilifi have entered into an agreement with Kilimo sasa fund to grow organic Cocoa in the county as the county Government seeks to strengthen its agricultural output.
On Tuesday, Kilifi governor Amason Kingi, Kilimo sas fund and the Community Agriculture Resources Developent Program (CARDEP) signed the Memorandum of Understanding at the governor’s office.
A feasibility study conducted by the Kenya Agricultural Research Organisation (KALRO) and Kilimo Sasa Fund in Mtwapa on the viability of cocoa farming in Kilifi indicated the crop can do well in the region.
Kilifi Governor, Amason Kingi lauded the plan to introduce the crop in the county saying it will transform the livelihoods of the local farmers.
“This project is going to diversify the way we do our agriculture, as we are aware farming in Kilifi is mainly for subsistence, but with this programme we are going to see farmers producing more cocoa for commercial purposes,” Kingi said.
The project will be centered towards the local farmers with the county government and Kilimo Sasa Fund offering the necessary support through training on regenerative sustainable agriculture and the use of bio organic fertilizer.
Kilimo Sasa Fund Executive Officer, Mr Gary Stubley said that the fund was keen on developing a cocoa seed variety that shall rival other cocoa producing regions across the world.
“This is without a doubt a very sustainable product that you can intercrop with other cash crops and can mature within two and a half years,” said Mr Stubley.
Kingi said the cash crop will be of major economic importance to the small-scale farmers in Kilifi and would go a long way in reducing the levels of poverty in Kilifi County.
“We are currently in the process of revamping our cashew and coconut industry and the introduction of Cocoa farming will be another frontier with which our people will be able to benefit fully while at the same time challenging our farmers to embrace new modern agricultural ventures as we look to add value to our already existing agricultural production” said governor Kingi.
Cocoa seedlings will be sourced from Ghana and then KALRO will breed the seedlings in their nurseries for six months and then pass the seedlings to CARDEP which will further distribute these seedlings to the farmers of Kilifi county for planting and starting the initial farming of Cocoa.