Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has revealed that the government has placed innovation in agriculture as the top pillar of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BeTA).
Speaking during this year’s Kisumu regional show, Mudavadi said BeTA prioritizes on rice, edible oils, cotton, coffee, maize, tea, leather and dairy value chains with the aim of achieving food security, increasing exports, reducing imports and creating employment.
He added that the sector is the backbone of Kenya’s economy since it contributes about 33% of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs more than 40% of the total population and 70% of the rural population.
“The sector has the potential to create jobs, improve incomes, enhance foreign exchange earnings, promote industrialization and lower the cost of living,” he said, noting further that the government reduced the price of 50kg bags of fertilizers from Ksh6, 500 to Ksh3, 500 and that the price will further reduce to Ksh2,500 a bag.
Mudavadi noted that for long-term stabilisation of fertiliser prices, the government is encouraging investment in manufacturing and blending instead of depending on importation.
He revealed that the government is embracing climate smart technologies in irrigation to build a resilient agriculture sector.
“The government will construct 100 mega dams and 1,000 uptake dams to increase irrigated land to 500,000 acres by 2026. The initiative will help achieve food self-sufficiency, save Ksh87.5 billion on food imports and create 3 million new jobs,” he said.
In the livestock sub-sector, Mudavadi noted that the local herd of 5.1 million dairy cattle produces 4.1 billion litres of milk valued at Ksh181.6billion, 16.5 million beef cattle produce 244,217 MT of beef worth Ksh104 billion and an estimated 36 million goats and 25.3 million sheep annually produce 80,739 MT of chevon worth Ksh36.6billion and 79,679 MT of mutton worth Ksh33.6 billion respectively.
He said the government intends to set up a Ksh400 million plant to provide semen to dairy farmers at Ksh1, 500 down from the current market price of Ksh7, 000.
Mudavadi said the National Government is currently collaborating with county governments in implementing initiatives to increase production and productivity by supporting farmers with high-yielding seed varieties, increasing mechanization, control of pests and strengthening farmers’ groups and cooperatives.
He said the government will subsidize inputs, revamp extension services, establish industrial sheds for garment making and resuscitate cotton ginneries.
“Kenya has the potential to produce up to 37,000MT (200,000 bales) of lint annually from 385,000 hactares of land suitable for cotton growing. The government’s initiatives will increase cotton production to 107,000 bales by 2025, increase the manufacture of textiles and apparel products, achieve Ksh150 billion worth of exports and reduce imports by 50% in the next 5 years,” he said.
He said as a commitment towards achieving these goals, the government has allocated Ksh120 million this financial year to purchase cottonseeds and for farmers’ capacity building.
The Prime CS said the government is undertaking a capacity building project for enhancement of rice production in irrigation schemes in Kisumu county whose objective is to increase rice production and disseminate appropriate techniques in rice production currently being implemented in the rice-producing sub-counties of Muhoroni and Nyando.
He said Kisumu is among 27 counties benefitting from the National Value Chain Support Programme (NVSP) whose objective is to enhance sustainable food and nutrition security, incomes, employment and wealth creation.
He urged counties to take part in ASK shows since the events provide Kenyans with invaluable opportunities to showcase and learn market technologies, innovations and products related to the agricultural sector.
The show also provides students with necessary timeout for practical learning outside the confines of the classroom.
By Fredrick Odiero
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