His Excellency Prof. Philip M. Kutima, Deputy Governor of Kakamega County
Prof. Philip Kutima has an MSc and PhD in Science. He has taught at Egerton University and Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology. His academic careerspans more than 22 years. His most recent position was as the Deputy Executive Director with African Institute for Capacity Development from 2009 to February 2013. He has extensive experience in capacity development in the East and Central Africa region. During his work at AICAD, he worked with organizations such as the World Bank Institute, European Union, JICA, CIDA, and WAITRO.
Prof. Kutima believes that the county has enough human capital to spur development. It has immense potential in agriculture. There is plenty of arable land, conducive climate and manpower necessary for agricultural production. “There is great potential awaiting to be exploited and our job is to mobilize it for the benefit of the county,” he says.
The County is a major sugarcane producer with the crop being grown in the central and southern parts
of the county. According Prof. Kutima, the crop is spreading towards the north where farmers are fast adopting it. He believes that the industry should be transformed to benefit the ordinary citizens of the county. Together with the governor, they have arranged to meet with the chief executive officers of the three sugar factories, Mumias Sugar Company, West Kenya Sugar Company Limited and Butali Sugar Milling Company to come up with new policies to improve the sector.
There is a lot of maize production in Lugari and Likuyiani sub-counties are the main producing areas in the county. The maize produced is enough to feed the population of the county and the surplus for export to other counties. However, lack of storage facilities in the past has led to wastage. The county government plans to construct storage facilities and set up a milling plant for value addition so that farmers can get good value out of their venture.
Farmers in all sectors of agriculture will be helped to access farm inputs that are presently very expensive. This has resulted in some farmers not being to procure them and therefore leading to low yields. Poverty has for a long time been a hindrance to agricultural productivity in the county. The government plans to ensure that modern agricultural practices are incorporated in the farming systems to increase productivity and reduce poverty.
Dairy, poultry, tea and horticultural activities are the other farming ventures the county government intends to develop collaboration with other partners such as Lake Basin Development Authority (LBDA). The promotion of these farming activities in addition to maize and sugar cane growing is to empower county residents economically and to improve nourishment in households. By focusing on early maturing crops, farmers will be able to reduce the cycle of accessing the returns of their investments while ensuring food security.
Transport and infrastructure is another sector that has been budgeted for improvement in order to open up the county to investments, which the Deputy Governor believes will stimulate commerce. Roads and bridges will be built under the patronage of this government. Rural electrification will be done starting with Likuyiani, Lugari, Malava and Navakholo sub-counties among other areas.
Other sectors planned for improvement include slums’ upgrading in the urban areas, youth empowerment and development of the tourism. Communities living close to Kakamega and Malava forests have to start gaining from the resources at their disposal. Tourists are encouraged to come and sample hospitality and the attractions the county offers. The two forests are the only remaining indigenous equatorial rain forests in Kenya with attractions such as bird watching, snakes, butterflies and a host of other attractions.
The heath sector of the county will be tasked with ensuring that medical services are improved. Enough funds have been budgeted to purchase medical equipment for the dispensaries, health centres and hospitals. Emergency services are to be revamped to reduce the deaths that are caused by lack of means to travel to health facilities.