About 200 farmers from Busia County have discovered an easy way of making money by venturing into Chia Seeds Farming which is synonymous with South American Nations.
The 200 members of Busia Oil Crop Framers Co-operative Society have planted the rare but lucrative crop on 150 acres of land. They expect to harvest over 20 tons.
The crop fetches up to Sh1500 per kilogram in the local market but Momentum Trust — a Danish organization based in Kenya is offering Sh150 per kilogram.
The Society chairman Dismas Okware said they have opted to accept the offer for a start as they venture into further negotiations to push the prize to at least Sh500 per Kg or until a better offer comes knocking.
Busia County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture and Animal Resources Dr Moses Osia toured Ong’ariama and Among’ura in Teso South Sub County on Monday where each farmer has planted at least one acre of the crop.
Dr Osia said Busia is the only County in Kenya that grows organically certified Chia Seeds, adding that one acre can fetch up to Sh50,000 which a farmer can’t get from any crop within three months.
” I am happy Momentum has come to work with Busia County Farmers. Let’s get many farmers registered in the program . We also want equipment for harvesting, drying and packaging in Busia.
Chia is a new crop in Busia County and it’s doing well. Any person who has idle land and is looking for a cash crop can go for Chia Seeds farming. Although the price is low that is a good start as we strive to get a better market,” he said.
Momentum Trust Board Member Christian Hoff said there is a ready market in Denmark which imports over 1400 tons of organic Chia Seeds annually, adding that Chia seeds are good in the treatment of diabetes, blood pressure and for those who want to lose weight.
Nutritionists assert that Chia seeds are good for boosting libido and they improve brain health. They are also a good source of Omega-3, essential fatty acids which the body cannot produce. They are also rich in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Chia seeds are grown organically without using harmful pesticides and chemicals. It tolerates various soil and climatic conditions. The plant is very hardy and grows in dry areas.