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Mombasa prepares for annual agricultural show

Land ownership problems remain the biggest challenge facing people in the coastal region, thus affecting farmers and food security in the region.

Mombasa ACK Bishop Alphonce Baya has said the government still has a long way to go to ensure coastal people have land title deeds despite efforts to address the same by the Kenya Kwanza regime.

“Land is a factor of production, and without land ownership, we cannot say we have attained full independence,” the bishop said.

Speaking after the Harvest Festival service at the Mombasa ACK Cathedral Sunday, where officials of the Mombasa International Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) show had gone to have their produce blessed, Bishop Baya asked the government to hasten the process of titling.

“There are still many areas that experience these land problems, especially the coastal counties,” he said.

He said many farmers at the coast also suffer from exploitation by middlemen who take advantage of the perennial drought, poverty, and land disputes to oppress the already desperate farmers.

“If the government resolves the land problems, these brokers and middlemen will have no one to take advantage of because the local farmer will be empowered,” Bishop Baya said.

The cleric called on coastal farmers to embrace smart farming methods because of land problems.

Mombasa ASK Show chair Anisa Abdalla said preparations for this year’s Mombasa International ASK Show are in top gear, with President William Ruto expected to officially open it on Thursday.

The show opens next week on Wednesday and will end on Sunday. It will be running under the theme “Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiative for Sustainable Economic Growth’ saying it goes hand in hand with the government’s plan to develop farming and trade.

Ms. Abdalla said this year’s public agricultural show has received a record number of 1,200 schools confirming participation, adding that there will be something for everyone.

“This is mainly because of the Competency-Based Curriculum that focuses on hands-on experience, for which there will be plenty to learn for the students,” Abdalla said.

Abdalla said they expect a record number of guests owing to the confirmations and the aggressive marketing they have done.

“This time, we are the ones who went out to entice the exhibitors to come, unlike in previous years, where exhibitors were coming to us to ask for space to display their goods and services,” Abdalla said.

She called on schools to take advantage of the show to expose the learners to the practicals of what they teach in school.

She said lessons on smart farming, agribusiness, and climate-smart technologies that can be applied in agriculture will be on display.

“We are at the coast, which has perennial problems of hunger and drought in Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Tana River counties. This is the opportunity for farmers to come and enhance their knowledge on the required drought-resistant seeds,” Abdalla said.

Mombasa County Commissioner (CC) Abdirazak Jaldesa has assured visitors of the security which has been beefed up in the county.

Jaldesa said there will be uniformed police officers and others in plain clothes, private security company guards, and closed-circuit television cameras.

Bandari Sacco CEO Joseph Bii said Coast people should attend the show in great numbers to learn more about financial solutions to agriculture provided by the Sacco.

“We have agricultural, investment, and financial products for farmers. We will give real solutions to farmers at the coast,” said Bii.

He said one of the biggest products for farmers at the coast is the cashew nut, and they are mostly small-scale farmers.

“We have business loans which are cheap and flexible because we know that farming is dependent on rain, and sometimes the rain fail. This means we can adjust our terms and conditions according to the rain patterns to suit that coastal farmer,” he said.

In the blue economy, specifically among fishermen, there are products and savings procedures tailor-made for them.

The Kenya Medical Research Institute’s acting Deputy Director in Charge of Corporate Communications, James Wodera, said they will be putting on a show for the public, who will learn crucial things about some of the health challenges they face.

“We would like them to come to see how our motto “In search for better health” is being translated to have an interface between agriculture, health, and technology,” said Wodera.

Wodera said this way, especially in the Coast region, the public will be able to better manage their environments and ensure they save a lot of money that would otherwise be used to treat easily preventable diseases.

Mombasa International Show (MIS) exhibitors are from the following industries: manufacturing, tourism-related enterprises, the fishing industry, the banking sector, import and export, transport, and communication.

The show focuses on climate-smart agriculture, promoting best farming practices for crop, tree, and livestock production and marketing.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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