Kenya on Wednesday played host to the Africa Agri Expo, now in its Sixth Edition, aimed at strengthening agricultural business by identifying, connecting and establishing the right channel partners in Africa.
The two-day event held in at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi brings together global agri-businesses and regional dealers/distributors representing Agriculture Machinery and Equipment, Agri-Technology, Agro Chemicals, Irrigation, Solution providers, Government officials and other Industry stakeholders to share their expertise, explore the market, promote their brands, and create long-term business partnerships.
Speaking during the launch of the expo, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said that Kenya is reengineering its approach on how agriculture will be conducted in the Country with a view of maximizing its potential.
Linturi in a speech read on his behalf by State Department for Crop Development Principal Secretary Phillip Kello Harsama noted that the theme for the Expo is aligned to the Country’s Vision 2030 as well as the government’s manifesto on agriculture.
“Our strategic objective as a government is to create an enabling environment that will create an enabling environment for agricultural growth,” he noted and called on all relevant stakeholders and agencies to give the government support to enable it realize this initiative.
He further acknowledged that the Expo will provide a suitable environment for progressive learning in the emerging technologies, and urged the exhibitors to set up businesses in the Country because there are currently less bureaucracies that enable business to thrive.
He noted that the Agricultural sector plays a vital role in the economy with the sector contributing 50 per cent of the Country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
On his part, the PS stated that the government intends to put 3 million hectares of land under irrigation in the next 10 years to support food production in the Country and Africa at large.
“The government is also investing in Agro processing, value addition to fruits and legumes so as to harness the production,” Harsama noted.
The event organizer TAB Group Chief Executive Officer Tahir Bari on his part said that over 100 investors and potential businesses are keen on setting up base in the Country.
“Interest from investors in the Agricultural Value chains is growing with many seeking opportunities, and others coming to sign deals after successful discussions with Kenyan companies,” Bari said during the launch.
He said that investors have come from different parts of the world that include the Middle East, Asia, Europe and USA with a keen interest in tackling major issues in the supply food chain by introducing new technologies to help the sector grow and become more attractive to the young people.
The event themed ‘A Gateway to Agribusiness in Africa’ will highlight the advancements in technologies for agriculture value chain, food security, nutrition, crop protection, water management and ways to mitigate post-harvest losses in Africa through the sustainable use of machines and technology as well as boosting productivity and profitability of farmers.
The agriculture sector contributes 50 percent of Kenya’s GDP (26 percent directly and 25 percent indirectly) and accounts for 60 percent of employment and 65 percent of exports according to the World Bank.
The sector is dominated by smallholder production on farms of between 0.2 and 3 hectares, which account for 78 percent of total agricultural production and 70 percent of commercial production.
Agricultural GDP is driven by horticulture and cash crops, but productivity is low, particularly for cereals.
By Alice Gworo