Israel will continue partnering with Kenya, in exploring solutions that will make the two countries resilient in food supply even in unprecedented and challenging times.
While noting that the entrance of Covid-19 has exposed a global economic crisis, making the world food insecure, Israel Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Michael Lotem said it was important for the two countries to strive to achieve food security through agricultural practices and modern technologies that do not adversely affect the environment and the climate.
Lotem stated that Kenya and Israel had signed agreements on irrigation and agriculture, in a move to strengthen ties between Nairobi and Tel Aviv.
Speaking after holding a meeting with Nakuru Deputy Governor David Kones, the envoy said Israel was keen to partner with the County Government and explore ways of training farmers in the region on advancement of climate-smart technologies and best practices to improve productivity.
He singled out climate change, widespread global desertification and water crises and the extinction of animal and plant species as external factors that were affecting agriculture.
The envoy said cooperation between Israel and the county government will facilitate skills and technology transfer that will boost local water technology, agriculture extension services and improve weather forecasting for farmers.
Lotem observed that tough climatic conditions had forced Israel to adapt creative technologies to bloom the desert, thus becoming a leader in innovative agriculture.
“Moving to irrigated farming would increase the crop yield, save water and greenhouse gases, and, over time, create food security. It is worth noting that to date, most agricultural crops in many parts of the world are still grown by “dry farming” that is farming which is not reliant on rain,” he added.
The discussions between the Deputy Governor and the Israel Ambassador also centered on digitizing the devolved unit’s health systems, training medical staff and upgrading and fitting medical laboratories with diagnostic equipment.
Lotem pointed out that Kenya and Israel were also partnering in security, Information Technology, health, tourism and trade sectors. The two further deliberated on developing affordable housing, water and sanitation, transport, green energy, urban mobility and agriculture.
Mr. Kones said the collaboration comes as the Susan Kihika led administration is keen on boosting access to quality primary healthcare right from dispensaries to Level Four facilities to reduce referrals.
The Deputy Governor asked Israeli businesspeople to invest in Nakuru, saying that such investments can help boost the balance of trade, which currently tilts in favour of Israel.
“It is our desire to see the volume of trade between our two countries grow even larger,” he stated. “Nakuru has numerous investment opportunities and as a country, we are open to investors,” he added.
Through the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation, hundreds of Kenyans have undergone training in water management, medicine, agriculture and engineering.
By Jane Ngugi