The 6th edition of Agritec Africa International Exhibition and Conference on Agriculture Technology and 6th Dairy Livestock and Poultry Expo Kenya will be held in Nairobi in June this year.
The Exhibition will be based upon agriculture industry and focus on versatility of agricultural segment in different zones.
Speaking on Tuesday during a preparation meeting for the conference, Ministry of Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Dr. Andrew Tuimur said the government policy was to reduce post-harvest losses from 20 percent to 10 percent by 2022.
The policy, he added, also seeks to increase irrigated land by 255,000 acres through construction of water pans and de-silting of existing ones.
“There is thus a need to embrace modern technology and innovations in the entire value chain,” he added, noting that the upcoming agri-tech exhibition whose theme is to promote Agriculture through use of Technology could not have come at a better time.
Dr. Tuimur added that technology was critical in contributing to the big four agenda because most of the materials derived from Agriculture need innovation and technology that will help improve on food security.
He explained that the government had started a programme of harvesting water in small pans that will help families in addressing the food security situation and currently around 4, 000 pans have been constructed in 16 counties and at the same time the government is de-silting the old ones that were put up long time ago.
“We have been talking about water and farmers have been thinking about rain. Now we are emphasising that they change and think about water through the small pans in order to improve our irrigation which will contribute to the big four,” he added.
The CAS noted that with new innovation , food security was guaranteed and with new technology the government was looking at how it could lower cost of production in products saying the cost of milk was still high at Ksh.20, including other crops in the entire value chain.
During the upcoming exhibition, Dr. Tuimur said Graintech innovative solution for feed, food and seed will be introduced for the first time that provides a platform for increased networking and detailed business engagements in dairy, poultry, livestock and grain related sectors.
The Israeli Ambassador to Kenya, Amb. Noah Gal Gendler said Kenya has the right condition for soil, water and weather and thus should be the bread basket of not only the country but also for Africa and other parts of the world.
He gave an example of the flower industry in Kenya which has flourished for many years being one of the pioneer projects of Israel and this is proof that using innovative technologies in farming can enable farmers to reap maximum yields from Agriculture.
Amb. Gendler added that considering the average age of a farmer in Kenya is 60 years, the Israeli Embassy sends 100 Kenyans yearly to Israel for an agro study programme which takes 11 months.
“These young ones will be the next generation farmers because they come back with knowledge of modern agriculture and are ready to face the challenges in the sector,” he said noting that this exhibition has come at the right time.
The Indian High Commissioner, Rahul Chhabra said through a line of credit to Kenya, India has been assisting the Country to realise the big four agenda and currently through the renovation and completion of Rivatex textile factory that is worth USD.29.95 million and will be in full stream in the next two months.
He cited another line of credit in which India was collaborating with Kenya on Agricultural mechanisation where they will be getting USD.100 million to be used in irrigation, cold-storage and agricultural-extension activities.
“Although it has not taken off, everything and all paper work has been done and it is only waiting for the formalities to be activated,” he said, noting that once done it will have the potential to significantly improve the agricultural sector.
Amb. Chhabra said India had also been giving scholarships to agricultural officers who are sent to India for training in technology and so far about 400 Kenyans were sent last year.
The Agriculture and Food Authority Interim Director General, Anthony Mureithi said technology provides answers to the myriad of challenges facing the agricultural sector.
“We continue grappling with high cost of production in the value addition chain right from farm level but through innovation and technology there is an opportunity to substantially reduce the cost of production and deploy sustainable interventions,” he said.
The Agri-tech Africa CEO, Sanyal Desai said over 225 companies from across the globe were expected in the three day exhibition with over 15,000 visitors.
By Wangari Ndirangu