KAPSABET, Kenya, Oct 12 – Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru has challenged County governments to find ways of empowering farmers to add value to their produce to improve their returns.,
She asked the counties to work with other stakeholders to undertake research initiatives on the best economic opportunities for the residents to spur economic growth.
“Counties should now consider not only primary production but also value addition on agricultural produce. This will increase the revenue stream in the county and grow the economy,” Waiguru said.
She also encouraged farmers to insist on investing in quality farm inputs to fetch improved harvest arguing that high yielding crops reflected on the returns irrespective of the costs.
The Cabinet Secretary said such initiatives made it possible for peasant farmers to transform their small scale operations into commercial ventures as they provides conducive environment for agribusiness and agri-industries to thrive.
Waiguru was speaking during the closing ceremony of the Kapsabet Agricultural show which was revived this year under the stewardship local Governor Cleophas Lagat.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei and his Environment counterpart Judi Wakhungu graced the trade fair whose theme “Enhancing Technology in Agriculture and Industry for Food Security, Economic Growth and National Heritage” resonates with the Jubilee Manifesto and Kenya’s vision 2030.
In addition, Waiguru underscored the role of the youth in reinforcing Kenya’s efforts to commercialize the agricultural sector.
“It’s not a secret that innovations in the fields of agriculture and ICT in Kenya are spearheaded by the youth although the opportunities in this field are not fully exploited,” she said.
The Cabinet Secretary said the role of women in agriculture cannot be downplayed and said the government had gone further to create avenues for credit facilities to promote their empowerment.
“We have several loan products for women including Kilimo Biashara, which is implemented by Equity, Family, Kenya Women finance Trust (KWFT) and is partly complemented by the Women’s Enterprise Fund” she said.
Earlier in the day Waiguru was the chief guest during the handing of food donations to Kapsabet School for the deaf where the government through the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) gave foodstuffs worth Sh200,000 to the institution.
She announced plans to find ways of alleviating the suffering of some 800 families evicted from local forests before they are resettled.