By Andy Munyoki
Kitui senator Enoch Wambua has sponsored a bill in the senate that when passed by the parliament of kenya will pave way for the regulation and promotion of Ndengu (Mung Beans) farming in the country.
If president Uhuru Kenyatta assents to the bill, then Ndengu farming will have been embeded into the laws of Kenya, enjoying the requisite government support and protection like coffee, tea, potatoes and nuts (just to mention a few)
With the established legal framework, locally produced Ndengu will now find an access into the country’s strategic grain reserves for bulk storage, preservation, distribution, marketing, regulation of demand and supply, as well as value addition.
The bill seeks to promote the use of Ndengu by both the national and county governments in the implementation of feeding programs.
Public schools will benefit greatly with learners from needy backgrounds being able to remain in school.
Kitui residents familiarised themselves with the bill on Wednesday in a public participation forum hosted by the senate committee on agriculture, livestock and fisheries at the Kitui multi-purpose hall.
With promotion of the productivity of Ndengu, growing counties like Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Embu and parts of Kajiado, Meru and Kiambu will enjoy increased incomes from their growers.
And through a facilitation of the introduction of modern Ndengu farming techniques, ASAL counties will be better equipped toward the eradication of perennial hunger as well as help improve the livelihoods of their residents and reduce poverty.
Effective marketing strategies as raised in the bill will catapult small holder Ndengu growers to poverty eradication.
There will be better proceeds from Ndengu farming and the growing counties will register enhanced economic empowerment following
better marketing strategies and increased sales of their crop nationally and internationally.
Governor Charity Ngilu launched Ndengu farming as her pet food security project on October 9, 2017 two months after her election as Kitui governor.
However, her noble program was not subjected to any legal framework which perhaps explains it’s lack of continuity and failure to meet expected targets.
If the Senator Enoch Wambua sponsored bill is enacted into law, it will grant small holder Ndengu farmers access to subsidised farm inputs and implements.
Farmers will likewise obtain access to agricultural extension services and technical advice from agricultural experts.
Farmers will also be supported in meeting their immediate feeding needs through consumption of matured crop before harvesting and dressing for sale or storage.
Of more importance, the bill is a big step in creating community resilience, ownership and self-reliance where farmers are encouraged to desist from over reliance on food aid and instead embrace agricultural production for economic growth.
It is a timely bill. Kitui residents can only accept and support it.
Senator Enoch Wambua got it right.