The President said although Kenyan farmers make meagre profits from their labour, his Government is committed to ensure all farmers irrespective of landholding make a decent income out of agricultural activity.
He said the Government would transform agriculture from a modest subsistence affair of minimal prospects into an enterprise presenting diverse opportunities in finance, investment, processing, trade and other commercial services besides traditional farm work.
He said strategies for achieving this agenda include expanding access to finance, stabilising farm input prices and enhancing availability, mechanising agriculture and increasing arable land in the country by initiating irrigation schemes.
He said the Government will complement these strategies by directing private investment in the sector through the provision of appropriate incentives as well as intensifying value-addition for all sectors such as livestock, fisheries and agro-forestry.
Speaking when he officially opened the Mombasa International Show that was also attended by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Kenyatta said integration of the East African region would provide a sizeable market for the regions’ products and services, attract investment and create employment for the youth.
He said the East African Community states should unite to establish joint value addition processing plants for tea, coffee and other crops in order to compete in the world markets and avoid exploitative tendencies of global traders and middlemen.
He praised the decision reached on Wednesday to allow free movement of goods, services and people within the East African Community member states of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
The decision was reached by Presidents Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda during a regional infrastructure conference in Mombasa.
President Kenyatta said citizens were now free to travel unhindered using national identity cards, student identity cards, voters’ cards and other official identification documents.
The President said continued disunity among regional states was counterproductive noting a lone ranger policy would not help regional states to develop economically and uplift the livelihoods of their people.
He said many ethnic communities in the region such as the Maasai, the Teso and the Somali, among others, straddle territorial borders and interact with ease in social and economic activities.
President Kenyatta called on Kenyans to unite and exercise discipline and focus on issues of development instead of spending quality time politicking.
He said his Government was committed to cooperate and work with all county governments to expand economic activities such as agriculture, value addition of products in order to increase revenues, achieve food security and create wealth.
Speaking during the occasion, President Museveni said the greatest strength and resource for the East African states was the integration of the 150 million population into a common market.
He decried tribalism and religious intolerance as evils that have caused underdevelopment and called for greater integration among the people of East Africa.
President Museveni also called for modern agricultural practices complemented with industrialisation, service industry and Information Communication Technology to spur greater economic growth in the region.
(Story by Munyasya Musya)