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Gov’t keen to shift from rain-fed to irrigation agriculture

Transforming the country from rain fed to irrigation agriculture has been termed a move which will combat the ongoing drought and ensure food security.

Ministry of East Africa Community (EAC), Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) and Regional Development, Cabinet Secretary Ms Rebecca Miano said that she will work with her predecessors to ensure that the country fully adopts irrigation fed agriculture.

Speaking on Friday during the handing over ceremony, Miano said the country is facing difficulties in view of the prolonged drought which impacts negatively on the ASALs.

“There is a lot that has been done and a lot needs to be done so that we can attain sustainability and remove the marginalization that exists in the ASALs,” said Miano.

Miano highlighted that they will partner with all the key stakeholders to comprehensively tackle the issues affecting Kenyans by crafting a road map and building on the achievements of previous regimes.

The incoming CS said that she is a respecter of professionals and looks forward to a working partnership with civil servants in the ministry in undertaking their collective mandate.

She congratulated her predecessors CSs Betty Maina and Prof Margaret Kobia for their exemplary leadership at the ministries saying that she will pick up from where they have left to develop our nation and region to higher transformational levels.

The outgoing CS for Public Service, Senior Citizens, (ASAL) and Special Programmes Prof Margaret Kobia said that every administration world over comes in facing different challenges and the incoming administration is being faced by the challenges of unemployment, and severe drought as a result of failed rains in the past two seasons with the weather forecast indicating that even in the coming season the rains will be depressed.

Kobia said the government has a lot of plans for climate change and drought mitigation and in the immediate future the government needs to feed its people while at the same time looking at long-term resilience measures to assist affected communities to adopt and overcome climate change.

“I am happy that the President said that as long as we continue relying on rain fed agriculture, we will never solve the drought issues and that is why interventions should be how we can support irrigation fed agriculture,” said Kobia.

Kobia added that the government has no shortage of plans where there are midterm plans, sector plans, strategic plans on the above matters and the incoming CS only needs to assist civil servants quickly make decisions and implement the plans.

“Let us do no more plans, taskforces and commissions since we already have enough and with the departments on the ground we can prioritize and implement the well-articulated plans,” said Kobia.

Outgoing Industrialization and Trade CS Betty Maina who was also acting CS at the East African Community (EAC) said that they have adequately briefed the incoming CS on the progress made in the EAC integration and the plans that are underway to strengthen it.

She highlighted that some of the senior officers are on their way to retirement posing a challenge in succession and stressed the need to energize the vigor within the public service and improve on the financing of government functions which will lead to improving delivery at the field.

“As a CS, I had a chance to visit a very vibrant irrigation project in Tana River- Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA)- which holds great possibilities and with directed resourcing we can realize a lot more from such initiatives,” said Maina.

She highlighted that the public service consists of a very educated and dedicated workforce who are competent in their work as she promised the incoming CS that she will find the staff very resourceful in the delivery of services to Kenyans.

“CS Miano and I have known each other for a long time since the time I was at the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and we have negotiated difficult things together including emergency power in 2006 and so I am very familiar with her work ethics and it is one of the things you say even if you are leaving something you leave it in the hands of a capable person,” said Maina.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a

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