, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has said his Government is undertaking major reforms in the agricultural sector to boost production and increase profits for farmers.
He said various agricultural institutions are being restructured with the aim of harmonising operations so as to increase production in the sector.
Speaking when he officially opened this year’s Nairobi International Trade Fair, President Kenyatta said what is remaining is the formulation of policy and legislation that will ease the work of the productive farmer.
“We have consolidated and repealed various statutes, which were obsolete, and we have established the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA) and the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO),” said the President.
He said in this financial year the Government has set aside 37 billion shillings for the Ministry of Agriculture, to boost food production, and pay for the new programs and policies.
“My Government will progressively raise the allocation, year by year. I trust that within the next decade, we will achieve the goal of allocating 10pc of our budget to agriculture, as stipulated in the Maputo Declaration,” said the President.
He said the funds set aside will pay for key projects in irrigation; subsidise inputs; develop fisheries; and pay for the establishment of disease free zones for livestock development.
The President cited a fertilizer plant which government intends to put up in partnership with Toyota Tsusho Company as one of the projects.
The President said the Government will continue reforming tea and sugar sectors with the aim of making agriculture more rewarding for farmers.
Earlier at the show ground, President Kenyatta witnessed the auctioning of the champion and reserve champion steers at the auction rings before touring various stands.
The champion bull weighing 650 kg was auctioned at Sh670,000 while the reserve champion bull weighing 640 kg was auctioned at Sh320,000.
The bulls were given as a gift to the National Youth Service officers undertaking cleaning services at Kibera slum.
At the East African Agricultural Productivity Programme (EAAPP), the President was shown a new technology being developed to curb cattle rustling.
Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries Felix Koskei said the ministry is formulating various legislation and policies aimed at improving the agricultural sector.
He said the ministry is on track in fulfilling the Jubilee manifesto of enhancing food security and growth.
He further said the ministry is consulting with the Brazilian Government to acquire over 500 tractors worthy Sh7.1 billion to promote mechanized farming in the country.
He pointed out that plans are underway to launch an insurance policy to cover all farmers to ensure they are cushioned during hard times.
He also said the ministry has set aside Sh700 million to revitalize the Kenya Meat Commission and make it more competitive.
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture Kareke Mbiuki said the committee has given the Galana-Kulalu irrigation project a clean bill of health for it to continue.
He castigated politicians who have the habit of always keeping the country on a campaign mood and cautioned them that Kenyans are tired of politics and what they want from leaders is the improvement of their livelihoods.
Other speakers included Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero, Chairperson Nairobi International Trade Fair Minne Njage and the National Chairperson, Agricultural Society of Kenya Alice Kalya.