Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has asked farmers to integrate technology to boost production as climate change negatively impacts agriculture sector.
Speaking in Mombasa when he officially opened the Nakuru National Agricultural Show on July 14, 2023, Mr Gachagua said traditional ways of food production are no longer tenable.
“Innovation and technology for Climate Smart Agriculture is the answer to weaning us off rain-fed production and beating environmental uncertainties to feed our people and develop our nation as underpinned by Vision 2030,” he said.
In tackling the high cost of living, the Deputy President said smart agriculture will raise production and end importation of food. This will reduce also bring down expenditure of foreign currency.
The Deputy President added that climate smart agriculture will assist farmers sustain their socio-economic lives. He said a successful agriculture sector will support manufacturing, one of the pillars of the Kenya Kwanza Plan.
“Under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda we are focused on strengthening the sector to increase income for farmers through production, value addition and agro-processing. Technology and innovation are handy in our strategic actions of elevating the small-scale farmer from production for consumption to commercial agriculture all year-round,” he said.
The government introduced subsidised fertiliser last year to lower the cost of production. With the long rains this year, farmers are expecting a good harvest.
The Deputy President said the country projects to produce 41.2 million 90 kg bags of maize in this year’s long rains representing a 31% increase from last year.
“With the expected bumper harvest, technology also comes in to help us minimise post-harvest losses. As part of preparations, County Governments should support farmers, especially in drying of maize and other cereals to the required moisture content,” Mr. Gachagua said.
He also asked the National Cereals and Produce Board to ensure adequate space under the Warehouse Receipt System.
To support the recovery of the economy, the Deputy President said more investment is going into livestock production chain and other key subsectors.
“We are enhancing productivity in the edible oils, rice, cotton, tea, coffee, beef, leather and dairy value chains,” Mr Gachagua said.
He added that the government will not relent in delivering reforms in the tea, coffee, dairy and other key subsectors for the benefit of the farmer, who has not enjoyed good returns due to cartels.
In line with the Government’s plan to reduce importation of leather products and support the livestock subsector, Mr Gachagua said a facility will be set up in Machakos.
“The leather value chain development is earmarked to reduce importation of products, especially shoes. In this regard, Ksh350 million has been allocated in the 2023/24 Financial Year budget for development of the leather industrial park at Kenanie in Machakos County,” he said.