By Israel Lar
Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong continued his engagement with the Kenyan Council of Governors (KCOG) with visits to more Counties where he discussed issues around agriculture value chain addition and tackling poverty through the utilization of cooperatives.
Lalong who was at Muranga County was received by the Governor Mwangi Wa Iria and members of his legislative body at the County office.
He told his host that he was in the country on a peer review visit on behalf of the Northern Governors Forum which mandated him to carry out the mission in order to explore areas of collaboration that both countries can learn from.
In a press statement made available by Director of Press and Public Affairs, the Governor explained that the Northern part of Nigeria has similar characteristics with many Counties in Kenya which are mostly agrarian and rely on food production for income and jobs.
He was happy to note that Muranga County in particular was using the Cooperative model to empower households and creating value chain addition in agriculture especially animal husbandry.
He told his host that Plateau State shares similar topography and weather with Muranga County and as such will be interested in forging closer relations that will yield positive results for the benefits of the citizens of both states.
“We need to learn from each other and see what works in one country and copy. We cannot be going to other parts of the world to look for African solutions when we have our brothers with whom we share many things in common close to us. When I arrived here, I saw the mountainous nature of this place and the kind of vegetation and crops that you cultivate here, I thought I was in my state of Plateau. The one thing I did not see is yam which we will soon introduce to you” he said.
Governor Mwangi Wa Iria informed Governor Lalong that his County has continued to implement social programmes especially the ones that touch the very poor who really need assistance.
He cited the livestock programme which is tagged “One household, one cow” in which families especially indigent ones are encouraged and assisted to raise cows that produce milk that is then purchased by the County Cooperative Society which has a diary processing factory that buys off from them for processing and value addition.
He said, “we have created many jobs through this and we have reduced to insignificant level any issue of conflict arising from livestock production because there is involvement of almost everybody. In addition, all our children are given free milk every day from the Cooperative Diary Factory which has now enhanced our school enrolment.
He later took Governor Lalong to the Diary Processing Factory where he was shown round the production chain and packaging.
Lalong who was delighted at the achievement of the county said the Governors of the Northern States of Nigeria will be willing to learn from the County particularly as they continue to look for ways to adopt modern livestock production.
He promised to agree with his colleagues in the Northern Governors Forum back home on a suitable date for a return visit where they will be exposed to Nigeria and its opportunities particularly in the Northern Region.
The County Governor also told Lalong that the Governors of Kenya were interested in learning from the experiences of Nigeria under the devolution of powers since they are just about 7 years old into the creation of counties which happened after constitutional amendments in 2013.
The Governor later proceeded to Naivasha in Nakuru County where he visited a flower production company to discuss prospects for training and investments in Plateau State and other northern states.
He was received by the Managing Director of the company Neil Hellings.