, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – President Mwai Kibaki has called on the Ministry of Agriculture to constitute a working group comprising relevant government departments and other critical stakeholders to coordinate value-addition initiatives of locally produced crops in the country.
The president noted that many locally produced crops needed to be refined to quality products that could fetch good prices, both in the local and international market.
President Kibaki made the remarks on Monday when he met directors of the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) who called on him at his Harambee House Office.
The Head of State noted that value-addition would not only guarantee high prices of locally produced crops but as well help in mass production of goods and creation of more jobs for the Kenyan youth.
Apart from tea, the president also identified coffee, fisheries, livestock, sugar, fruits and vegetables, cashew nuts and coconuts, as other vital sectors that needed urgent attention so as to reap maximum benefits for farmers and livestock keepers across the country.
He also emphasised that the machinery and equipment required for value-addition, should be sourced locally so as to support the local industrial sector.
On his part, Finance Minister for Njeru Githae assured the directors led by their chairman Tiras Kanyago, that the government would seek affordable international credit to develop the agency’s hydro-power projects as long as they were properly planned and proven sustainable.
Kanyago called on the government to support small holders’ tea farmers in the country as they embarked on the process of replacing old bushes with new high yielding clones until they matured.
In attendance were acting Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Romano Kiome, and KTDA Chief Executive Officer, Lerionka Tiampati.