NAIROBI, September 15 – Environment Minister John Michuki on Monday challenged environmental experts to come up with scientific solutions to help farmers double their output.
Michuki said that was the only better solution to fight the high rate of poverty in the country, particularly in the rural areas.
He said small scale farmers were unable increase their output due to lack of knowledge on better farming methods.
"Why should a Kenyan farmer continue to produce a kilogram of tea from one bush per year from the tea he has had for many years. Is there no science that can be applied?” he posed.
He urged the experts to concentrate their resources in improving the farmers’ output instead of concentrating on boardroom meetings.
“We travel to go to conferences and do all sorts of things to fight poverty. May I suggest to you that we have hardly started? Poverty is not going to be fought without actually basing it on the people and their experience,” he said.
He spoke at an international conference on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change in Nairobi.
The conference brings together African policy makers and advisors, renowned African scholars and researchers from various parts of the country who are meeting to deliberate on better ways of managing natural resources.
Among other issues, participants will explore appropriate ways of sensitising the region’s governments to advise their communities to take a proactive stance on climate change so as to reduce their vulnerability to the vagaries of weather.
Notable scholars present include Professor Richard Odingo, a member of the University of Nairobi meteorology faculty and the Vice Chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the organisation that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former United States Vice President Al Gore for speaking out on global warming.
The experts are also expected to discuss the current state of food security in the Sub Saharan Africa and recommend better ways.
Agriculture remains the mainstay for people in Sub Saharan Africa in terms of food production and income generation.
“I stress that our systems must be properly managed and appropriately resourced if the full potential of agriculture is to be realised,” he said.