Women and youth groups engaged in traditional vegetable farming in Nyamira County earned Sh148 million last year through innovation.
They are farming spider flower, back nightshade, pigweed, cowpea and pumpkins on an 840 acre farm.
“We have seen an increase in demand for local vegetables and this is good news for our farmers,” says Yuvinalis Orenge, of Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP), which advises the farmers.
The vegetables have become more popular in recent times due to their nutritional value. Since they mature fast, the give the farmers quick returns, says Orenge.
“Local vegetables require minimal inputs but fetch more. This is the easiest venture that can alleviate poverty.”
ASDSP gave out 20 solar driers to the farmers under Mapema Women and Youth Group.
“Solar driers minimise wastage and fetch more returns for the farmer. Each of the 20 wards in the county has one such drier.”
He said 9,500kg of fresh vegetables have been dried since last year and earned farmers Sh6.6 million.
Mapema’s secretary, Veronica Nyamoita, says the group has reaped benefits from the project .
“Before, most of our vegetables could go to waste as they are highly perishable but now the solar driers ensures nothing goes to waste. Fresh vegetables which can sold at Sh250 can fetch up to Sh650 once dried,” she says.