Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Mithika Linturi has called on farmers to embrace new innovations and technologies in agriculture to boost yields and counter the impact of climate change which has greatly affected agricultural production in the country.
The CS was speaking during the 98th Edition of the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show in Eldoret, themed ‘Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiatives for Sustainable Economic Growth’.
He pointed out that the show presents a great opportunity for farmers to acquire crucial information to learn new farming techniques through latest innovations and technologies to address issues of productivity.
Linturi lauded farmers in Uasin Gishu for their efforts in playing a key role in the agricultural sector to produce food for the country to help other Kenyans from the rest of the country where farming is not done due to unfavourable climatic conditions.
“The ASK show is a good avenue to learn new farming techniques on innovations and technologies to address issues of productivity; we have paid a visit to KALRO and seen new varieties of crops with the capacity to produce high yields, make sure to utilize all you have learnt here to increase production,” said Linturi.
Linturi commended the government for its support to farmers through the fertilizer subsidy program as he assured farmers that his Ministry was keen to ensure they access fertilizers at the government’s designated price of Sh 3500.
He noted that the government is looking forward to setting up fertilizer manufacturing factories in order to reduce the cost of fertilizers.
“Our commitment is that we want to have factories to manufacture fertilizers to reduce the cost of fertilizers. I want to commit that, with the support the government is giving us, we will work day and night to ensure farmers get a market for their products and earn profit to support their livelihoods,” he said.
Noting that he was aware of Sh516 million owed to farmers in the county for their sold produce, the CS attributed the delay in payment to the ongoing investigation to establish genuine beneficiaries as he vowed to root out cartels in the agricultural sector to curb misappropriation of funds meant to benefit farmers.
Uasin Gishu Governor Mr. Jonathan Chelilim affirmed that his administration had been keen in promoting competitive and commercially oriented agriculture through utilization of modern and efficient agricultural technologies.
He noted that these are key drivers in enhancing food security in the bread basket county that has continuously contributed to the country’s dairy and agricultural production.
“Food security remains a priority in my government; that is why I have prioritized agriculture in the budgetary allocation as a boost to the sector by directing funds to flagship programs on value addition, crop diversification, establishment of small-scale irrigation schemes, post-harvest management and Agricultural Mechanization Services (AMS),” said Chelilim.
The governor noted that his government has put in place proper measures to address the issues of climate change in agriculture by investing in irrigation projects through the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) at a cost of Sh140 million.
Additionally, the county government disbursed funds to support farmer groups under the micro projects to a tune of Sh150 million.
Chelilim said his administration will sensitize farmers on the need for crop diversification as a way of reducing over-reliance on maize and wheat by focusing more on the high value crops such as coffee, avocado, macadamia, tissue-culture bananas, passion fruits and pyrethrum.
“Our farmers have a role to play in transforming agricultural production from subsistence to commercialization of farming as a business, the county has allocated Sh12 million for the purchase and distribution of seedlings of the high value crops to farmers ahead of the onset of rains,” added Chelilim.
He further said the county government has always strived to cushion farmers against post-harvest losses through the construction of cereal stores across all the sub counties.
By Ekuwam Sylvester