OL-JORO-OROK, Kenya, Mar 26 – Agriculture minister William Ruto has said that low adoption of agricultural technologies and lack of organised marketing systems as well as a proper legal framework for marketing groups was to blame for the exploitation of farmers by middlemen.
He said the frustrations that farmers were undergoing due to lack of market led to the middlemen exploiting them and revealed that the government was working n a policy to protect the farmers.
He said the government was committed to putting measures aimed at improving the farmers’ output and value for their money by standardising farm inputs, quality assurance and strengthening of research and extension linkages so as to create an enabling environment for Public-Private-Partnership in the agricultural sector.
“The government hopes that future prospects of farming should deliberately focus on exploiting the existing potential through application of commercially intensive and diversified farming practices for sustainable livelihood and this way we shall also be able to fight unscrupulous brokers who exploit our farmers for their selfish gains,” he said.
He urged farmers and other stakeholders in the sector to take advantage of such initiatives to increase their participation, production and income in order to increase the pace of the growth of the national economy.
The minister’s remarks were contained in a speech read on his behalf by Central Provincial Director of Agriculture (PDA) Joseph Gachingiri during a farmers’ field day held at Gathanji location in Nyandarua West district.
He at the same time noted that the government has made available subsidised fertilizers at all stores of the National Cereals and Produce Board in the country and improved credit to farmers in order to enable improved production.
Meanwhile, while addressing the farmers, the PDA urged that there was a need for the farmers to embrace the new farming technologies and methods so as to boost their out-put while at the same time building lasting bridges for increased agricultural production and income.
He however regretted that field officers have over the time declined in numbers compared to the previous years and attributed this to the ever increasing number of farmers.
The field day with the theme: “Enhancing Agribusiness and Suitable Food Production Technology for food security” was aimed at training farmer on how to add value to their production for commercial purposes.
The PDA noted that as a result of the food shortages occasioned by serious drought last year in various parts of the country, the government was committed to ensuring food security for all Kenyans in line with the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty and hunger among Kenyan communities.