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Counties

Vihiga farmers to get free avocado seedlings with eye on China market

Wilber Ottichilo
Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo has rolled out an initiative to supply farmers with 20,000 avocado seedlings with an eye on the Chinese market following an importation agreement signed between Kenya and Beijing last month.

Dr Ottichilo said the Sh4.5 million project for local farmers is motivated by the creation of the new foreign market in the populous Asian country.

Dr Ottichilo, who also launched the distribution of tea and coffee seedlings, said the devolved unit would supply farmers with the seedlings free of charge as it seeks to promote agribusiness.

The avocado are expected to be ready in 16 months when the fruits will be harvested for export.

"President Uhuru Kenyatta and my (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga travelled to China and have reached an agreement that will see Kenya export avocado to China," said Dr Ottichilo.

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He said: "One avocado in China goes for Sh50. As a county government, we are preparing our farmers so that we can benefit from the Kenya-China agreement."

"After 16 months from the planting date, the avocado trees will be giving fruits. The variety we are giving out is different from other types that begin to flower after five years," added Dr Ottichilo.

He said his administration would lay ground for exportation of the fruits once they are ready for market in September 2020.

At the same time, the county boss rolled out the distribution of 35,000 tea seedlings worth Sh1.2 million and 30,000 coffee seedlings that cost Sh1.9 million

The governor said this is intended to revamp the ailing tea and coffee sectors that thrived in the 1990s.

"We want to improve tea and coffee production in our county. We are supplying these seedlings to farmers without any charge," said Dr Ottichilo.

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