NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 —The Jubilee Government’s heavy investment in agriculture is now bearing fruit, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said earlier Monday.
Speaking this morning during the Agricultural Summit held at State House Nairobi, the Cabinet Secretary said since 2013 the Government had spent more than Sh25.6 billion on the fertiliser subsidy programme.
The programme now reaches 1.5 million farmers every planting season and the Government wants to continue expanding the project until all farmers are covered.
In the areas covered, maize production had grown from about 35 million bags to 42 million bags annually, and the cost of production fallen by 40%, from Sh2800 to Sh1800 per bag.
The investment, said the CS, 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 on making the country self-sufficient in food,” said the CS.
Bett said the subsidised fertiliser program will soon be expanded to cover other crops such as sugar, coffee and tea.
He said the transformation of the agriculture sector through mechanisation and technology had brought competition and efficiency, attracting young people into farming.
He pointed to the wider agenda, saying that for Africa to transform its agriculture, mechanisation was a necessity.
The CS said the Government has also started implementing interventions in the livestock production sector.
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 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 operationalised, to give required service to farmers.
On marine resources, the Cabinet Secretary said the ministry has targeted production and elimination of illegal activities in the country’s water bodies.
He also said 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 at 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 sector in sub Saharan Africa is 11 times more effective at reducing poverty than growth in any other sector.
Present were the Water CS Eugene Wamalwa, Principal Secretaries Richard Lesiyampe (Agriculture), Andrew Tuimur (Livestock), Ntiba Micheni (Fisheries) and Patrick Nduati Mwangi (Water).
The summit was also attended by a cross section of Kenyans including farmers, business people and other private sector stakeholders who asked various questions as regards to farming activities in the country.