We have enough to feed Kenyans, assures Uhuru

Friday, September 6th, 2019 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyata presents Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho with an award after the county’s stand won the best exhibition prize. Photo/PD/BONFACE MSANGI

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said the government was committed to ensuring no Kenyan starves to death, insisting the government has enough food in store to feed its population.

Speaking at Mkomani grounds in Mombasa where he officially opened the annual international Agricultural Society of Kenya show, Uhuru said Sh48.5 billion had been allocated to facilitate programmes that would enable food production in the country.

“In the 2019-2020 budget, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has been allocated Sh48.5 billion to boost food production.

The funds will be directed to key flagship projects including irrigation, input subsidy, strategic grain reserve, fisheries livestock development and technology transfer,” said the President.

Unpredictable rains

“This will boost several agricultural production projects and lead to reduction of food prices,” he said.

The President, who was accompanied by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, Principal Secretary for Agriculture ministry Andrew Tuimur, Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and his Narok counterpart Joseph ole Lenku, urged the youth to embrace agribusiness and innovations showcased to boost production. 

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi  Kiunjuri, whose docket the ASK shows fall under, is on an official trip in Bangladesh. 

The President’s statement comes at a time when the country is staring at severe hunger with 14 counties at high risk following unpredictable rains this year.

According to a recent report by National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), close to 2.5 million Kenyans are facing starvation as drought and food security situation in the country continues to deteriorate.

Insurance programme

The agency says  the number of people currently facing acute food shortage stands at 2.5 million people, an increase from the estimated 1.6 million people as at May 2019 during the mid-season assessment. 

Uhuru said the agricultural sector was the largest gross domestic producer (GDP) in 2018 accounting to 32 per cent of GDP.

“We need to do much more to ensure that no Kenya suffers from lack of food and we are taking more bold steps to achieve food and nutritional security,” he said.

He added that the government has developed a comprehensive agriculture sector transformation growth strategy 2019-29 that would guide interventions to increase output and boost farmers’ resilience and incomes.

“So far, close to 500,000 farmers have benefited from Kenya Agricultural Insurance Programme that guarantees 50 percent subsides from the government in case of climate drifts,” he said and urged  counties to domesticate strategies that will develop and achieve food and nutritional security for Kenyans.

Through the programme, around 180,000 pastoralists in arid and semi arid areas have benefitted.

This year’s show has attracted about 190 local and international exhibitors showcasing manufacturing, transport, agriculture, banking and technology.

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