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Kiambu County pushes for more Stevia production

KABOGO-FARMERKIAMBU, Kenya, Feb 2 – The Kiambu County Government has laid out plans to popularise the Stevia crop amongst farmers from the county.

Authorities are urging farmers to embrace the new crop for its high medicinal value and demand for its natural sugar concentration.

The county, in a deal with Pure Circle Kenya has established a ready market in Malaysia and China and extension officers have started training and empowering farmers.

Kiambu Minister for Agriculture Monica Waiganjo has said that Stevia is the next big agricultural venture and farmers will reap big.

She said that farmers groups have already been identified and taken for benchmarking in Kericho and Nandi counties where the crop is an already booming business.

“County residents are well prepared for the new crop that is such high demand that it’s almost hard to meet it. We are committed to promotion of innovative, commercially oriented and modern agriculture,” she said.

Dr Waiganjo said that the county had already sought clearance from NEMA as is practice with new products and noted that the county is working with JKUAT to develop more varieties of the Stevia crop.

“We’re working with learning institutions to improve the quality of the crop that will best resonate with the Kenyan soils and the ever changing climate conditions,” she said.

The plant best grown from cuttings can withstand low to moderate rainfall and high temperatures, although farmers are encouraged to seek guidance from certified agricultural officers before venturing into the crop production.

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The minister was quick to warn the farmers to watch out for fake varieties of Stevia and urged them to only buy seedlings from the extension officers and certified suppliers.

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