Embu and Meru Counties have started talks on how to share KSh1 billion miraa kitty meant to improve the khat industry.
Embu County Governor Martin Wambora said a delegation has been sent to Meru County to deliberate on the sharing model and how the money will be spent.
Wambora said the county plans to use its share on provision of various crop seedlings to farmers to diversify farming to reduce over-reliance on miraa, which has been blamed for drop outs among school boys.
Speaking when he issued Sh81 million worth of bursaries to needy students in secondary schools, vocational training centres, universities and special schools at Kangaru School, Wambora said his administration has already issued 5,000 macadamia seedlings to farmers in miraa growing regions.
“Miraa brings a lot of money to the county but poses challenges in the education sector as various stakeholders have pointed out. Until we give farmers an alternative, this problem will continue,” he said.
He said the county plans to construct earth dams to give farmers other farming options.
The governor at the same time said the county will employ 200 teachers in July on permanent terms to attain adequate teaching staff in Early Childhood Development Education centres for implementation of the new curriculum.
The county has already employed 483 teachers.
Wambora said they will also employ 30 vocation training centre instructors.
Embu county also plans to enroll 5,000 needy families to National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) a move the governor says will ensure pupils in primary schools are covered the same way secondary school students have been enrolled.
Even though the county has issued Sh449 million worth of bursaries in the last five years, this year’s kitty of Sh81 million is a reduction from last year’s Sh170 million.
Embu Majority Leader Michael Njeru explained the amount was reduced after the Education ministry announced free secondary education.
He said they slashed the amount, freeing some money to other development matters.
He said they will increase the amount in future allocations.