President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday outlined the measures his administration is taking in order to enhance agricultural productivity in the country.
The President who underscored the importance of agriculture as a key driver of the country’s industrialization strategy challenged Kenyans to fully utilize the potential of the sector.
He acknowledged the importance of the sector to the country’s economy saying the country’s Vision 2030 will largely be delivered through a performing agricultural sector.
“In 2018, the agricultural sector was the largest contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of our nation, accounting for a direct contribution of 32 per cent of GDP and an additional 27 per cent of GDP, through linkages with manufacturing,” the President said.
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“The theme of this year’s Show “Promoting Innovations and Technology in Agriculture and Trade” is most appropriate and resonates well with our nation’s aspiration to be an industrialized middle-income country by 2030. In our context, agriculture is key to our industrialization strategy as most of our industries are agro-based,” he added.
President Kenyatta who spoke when he presided over the official opening of this year’s Mombasa International Show said the government is implementing a 10-year comprehensive Agriculture Sector Transformation Growth Strategy, which seeks to boost incomes from agriculture.
“This is a decade-long process that will support modernization of agriculture, increase value addition by moving from primary production towards processing and retail,” the President said.
As part of the far-reaching reforms in the sector, the President said the government is implementing legal and policy reforms to support youth and women to engage in agriculture and agribusiness.
“My administration is particularly keen to support our youth and to encourage more of our young people to engage in agriculture and agribusiness and we will continue to develop several technology-driven programmes to enable them to participate in the agricultural production value chain,” the President said.
The Head of State cited the Kenya Agriculture Insurance Programme (KAIP) and the Kenya Livestock Insurance (KLIP) as measures the government is taking to mitigate against the effects of climate change and weather variability. The two interventions have benefitted 500,000 farmers and 180,000 pastoralist households respectively.
On the blue economy, the President outlined the various Government initiatives aimed at reviving the fishing and shipping industries.
“Further, to promote the development and efficiency in coastal fish related businesses and achieve various activities we have now established the Fisher Associations and the Kenya Fish Marketing Authority,” he said.
In the current financial year, the President said the government had allocated the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Shs 48.5 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. This will boost overall agricultural production and lead to a reduction in food prices,” President Kenyatta said.
Alongside the direct interventions, the President said his administration is implementing several road projects to ensure farmers have easy access to local and regional markets.
Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said he fully supports President Kenyatta’s development agenda to improve the livelihoods of all Kenyans.
He urged all leaders and the people of the Coast region to rally behind the President saying his projects are aimed at making Kenya a better country for all.
Other speakers included Tourism CS Najib Balala and Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur.