, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Agriculture Minister William Ruto has supported the resettlement of people living in the Mau forest complex.
The Minister said on Wednesday that the delayed rainfall was as a result of environmental degradation and as such water towers must be protected.
“I support the resettlement of people living in the Mau but I would like it to be done in an orderly and coordinated manner,” he said at his Kilimo house office where he launched this year’s edition of the Freedom from Hunger Walk.
“We would like those living in water catchment areas like the Mau to be given alternative land” he added.
A task force appointed in July last year to find sustainable ways of conserving the forest, wants all settlers within the Mau Complex evicted. Only settlers with genuine documentation should be compensated or resettled, the task force recommends.
Mr Ruto also called on the government to move quickly in developing a marshal plan to reclaim water towers.
Freedom from Hunger Walk Council chairman James Mathenge advocated for better pay for farmers saying the country was loosing a lot of money to foreign farmers.
“We spent in one year in foreign exchange what we would have paid a local farmer for twelve years,” he said.
Mr Ruto said the ministry had come up with other measures that would address the issue of food security, including increased budgetary allocation for irrigation.
“Reliance on rain-fed agriculture is actually reliance on agriculture by guess work. Therefore the budget allocation to the ministry will target more on agriculture under irrigation,” he said.
Another measure under government consideration is developing variations of seeds such as beans, wheat and maize that help the country cope with an ever increasing population and famine crisis.
“With the passing of the bio safety bill the country should be able to develop new varieties of seeds that are both drought resistant and are able increase yield production,” he said.