Kenya has developed the necessary policies to support a proper framework to increase food production in the country, Deputy President William Ruto has said.
Mr. Ruto said putting more land under irrigation would help alleviate food shortage in the country.
Speaking during the launch of the Initiative for Food and Nutrition in Africa (IFNA) on the sidelines of TICAD VI conference, Mr Ruto said for any nation to improve the nutrition status of its people, it must ensure food security.
IFNA was launched to accelerate international efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in the African Continent.
Welcoming the IFNA initiative for Africa, the Deputy President said agriculture and rural development is key to achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and a solution to malnutrition.
Mr Ruto said mechanization and irrigation was key to improving food production.
“To improve the nutrition status of the people, we must enhance productivity to ensure affordable food,” said Mr Ruto.
Mr Ruto said chronic food and nutrition security remains a great national human and economic development challenge for many African countries.
The Deputy President said Kenya had enhanced the budgetary allocation to the agricultural sector to meet demands of food production.
“Our focus is on building an innovative, commercially oriented and modern farm sector with irrigation infrastructure as a priority,” he said.
Mr Ruto said Kenya is endowed with such plentiful natural resources that it has the capacity to be Africa’s breadbasket and the Government was prioritizing the development of agriculture by adapting irrigation.
Present were Dr. Shinichi Kitaoka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. José Graziano da Silva, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Kazunori Tanaka, Member of the House of Representatives, Japan.
Mr Ruto said the attainment of adequate nutrition for Kenyans was a priority of the Government.
He said the Government also seeks to increase the quantity and quality of food available and make it accessible and affordable to all Kenyans at all times.
Mr Kitaoka called for concerted efforts in addressing chronic malnutrition across the globe.
He urged African countries to support IFNA initiatives saying malnutrition was still a major challenge in the continent compared to other continents.
He said JICA would continue to support efforts geared towards boosting food production in the continent as a measure to improving the nutrition status of the people.
“I encourage African countries to come up with prudent measures to ensure children get health meals for their productive healthy,” said Mr Kitaoka.
Mr Mayaki said political commitment among African countries remains key to addressing the challenges associated with chronic malnutrition.
“We should encourage enhanced coordination between the development partners and African governments in solving the problem of food insecurity,” said Mr Mayaki.
“But political commitment remains critical in attaining food security and improving the nutrition status of the people in this continent,” he added.