The government has set aside Sh48.5 billion this financial year to boost agriculture in the country.
The Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Mwangi Kiunjuri said the money would go towards supporting agriculture activities to boost food security.
The CS was speaking at Kitale ASK Show on Thursday when he officially opened the show.
He said that 323 milk coolers have been purchased and distributed to 36 counties in an effort to promote bulk storage and give farmers an opportunity to look for better prices.
The 3, 000 capacity coolers have been distributed to co-operative societies across the 36 counties with Trans Nzoia receiving 14.
According to the CS, observatory platforms have been established by the support of the World Bank with the aim of monitoring climate for better farming activities.
“The observatory platforms will give farmers an opportunity to read the weather patterns to include them in their planning,” he said.
The CS said that Sh371.5 million has been invested in maize and potatoes to cushion farmers against natural occurrences.
He said at least 416, 000 farmers have benefited from the programme countrywide and asked local farmers to join the insurance scheme.
“At the beginning of the year, there was unexpected prolonged drought which affected many farmers who planted early. If you will had insured your crop, the government would have compensated you,” he said.
He said that the 2019 population and housing census included agriculture census model which would provide a framework for the government to an agriculture digitalization strategy to help the government in planning for farmers.
The CS said agriculture played a key role in the GDP of this country, adding that in 2018, agriculture contributed 32% directly to the GDP of the country and 27% indirectly through linkages in manufacturing.
He said that farmers would continue to benefit from government interventions, adding that five counties had been selected for case studies where they would be provided with farm inputs that would include lime, seeds and fertilizer to test on productivity.
The CS asked farmers to embrace innovations and technology in their farming activities to improve production.
Kiunjuri said that the warehouse system at National Cereals board is now working and would improve on efficiency on storage.
This year’s theme was innovation, technology in agriculture and trade and was aimed at imparting new skills to farmers and providing an opportunity for business linkages.
By Pauline Ikanda