Heavy investment in agriculture makes Kenya food secure: official
16 August 2016, 20:34
Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Kenya said on Monday that heavy
investments in agriculture have helped transform the sector, making the
East African nation food sufficient.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the investment had also
increased income along the value chain and has helped create jobs and
enhanced value addition and agro-processing.
"Kenya is now food-secure and we are working to make the country
self-sufficient in food," Bett said during the Agricultural Summit
organized by State House in Nairobi.
He said the transformation of the agricultural sector through
mechanization and technology had brought competition and efficiency,
attracting young people into farming.
Bett pointed to the wider agenda, saying that for Africa to transform its agriculture, mechanization was a necessity.
He said the government is especially concentrating on mechanization
and automation, explaining that reports indicate most Kenyans are still
using outdated technology.
"There will be a plan on how technology transfer will be done so that we make it cool for young people," Bett said.
He also said the government has also started implementing interventions in the livestock production sector.
The government has also set up 18 new livestock marketing yards, a
number of fodder banks as well as water pans and dams. He also said
Livestock Marketing Board would be operationalized, to give required
service to farmers.
He said a number of cooling facilities had been put up and before the
end of this year, there would be 990 of them in the country.
The CS said since 2013 the Government had spent more than 256 million
U.S. dollars on the fertilizer subsidy program which now reaches 1.5
million farmers every planting season.
He said the government wants to continue expanding the project until
all farmers are covered. In the areas covered, Bett said, maize
production had grown from about 35 million bags to 42 million bags
annually, and the cost of production fallen by 40 percent, from 28
dollars to 18 dollars per bag.
Bett said the subsidized fertilizer program will soon be expanded to cover other crops such as sugar, coffee and tea.
Bett said the ministry has targeted production and elimination of
illegal marine resource activities in the country's water bodies, noting
that the ministry wants to have more diversified marine activities and
deep sea fishing.
He pointed out that since 2013, aquaculture production doubled from 23,502 to 48,000 metric tonnes annually.
Bett pointed out that investing in agriculture is the most effective
way to end hunger, improve nutrition and drive economic opportunities
for African countries.
He said growth in the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa is 11
times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other