Monday, October 3, 2011

Good News out of Kenya

I read this article at news today. It is welcome news indeed.  I applaud the Kenyan government for this vision to help keep the country in food security. I hope they have the fortitude to see it through to completion and moreover, that the plan meets with success.  I've been hearing about the plan for awhile but haven't actually read anything official until now.

In my own work with farmers to help them plant and fertilizer their fields, I know that it can get very expensive for a subsistence farmer.  So I was happy to hear that part of the plan involves making seeds and fertilizers available to farmers at an affordable price. I just hope that farmers can afford the price.  Inflation has been so high in Kenya over the last two years and virtually all necessities have doubled or tripled in cost, while the Kenyan currency has lost a lot of strength on the world market.

My own photo of the Perkarra Irrigation Project near Marigat. See the fields are green in this dry and arid place.


ABOUT 1.2million hectares will be irrigated in the next five years as part of the government plan to eradicate drought-related hunger in the country, President Kibaki has said.

Speaking during the official opening of the 2011 Nairobi International Trade Fair on Friday, President Kibaki said this will reduce the country's reliance on rain-fed agriculture and guarantee the country food security. "I am directing the ministry of Water and Irrigation, the ministry of Agriculture and the Treasury to put in place adequate measures that will ensure that this is achieved," Kibaki said.

He said the government is committed to support the continued growth of the agricultural sector. "We are determined to see the transformation of this sector from one that mainly focuses on subsistence to commercial and market-oriented," said Kibaki. He added that infrastructure such as transport and energy plays an important role in agriculture and therefore the government had in the last seven years embarked on an ambitious road construction progamme.

Kibaki urged crop and livestock farmers to increase their production and benefit from the enhanced access to markets and improved distribution networks. In 2010 agriculture registered a growth of about 6 percent which is the highest achieved in the country in four years. The growth was fueled by the rise in the production of tea,cereals,sugar and coffee.

He noted that Kenya's food production has declined over the last few years due to several factors like drought,escalating food and fuel prices as well as high cost of farm inputs like fertilisers. He assured Kenyans that some measures had been set in place to mitigate the impact of increasing food prices. "The government has waived import duty on maize and wheat for a period of six months with effect from July this year," Kibaki said.

He added that the government had put in places measures to ensure that key agricultural inputs are available to farmers at an affordable price. "The ministry of Agriculture has a stock of about 40,000 metric tones of assorted fertiliser and adequate seeds for the next short rains,"Kibaki said. Present at the function was Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, minister for Agriculture Sally Kosgei among others.

Kalonzo urged the participants,exhibitors and farmers to take advantage of the trade fair to enhance food security in the country as well as earn the country foreign exchange and reduce the rate of inflation. 360 exhibitors were present in the trade fair to exchange their products including China, France, South Africa, Nigeria, Sudan, Israel, Uganda among others. Kosgei urged the government to subsidise seeds and fertilisers inputs to help smallscale farmers afford the cost.



Kilauea Poetry said...

Hi Penny..that's good news.. what a beautiful image of the bike and the tree! I think the seeds for are great idea. The price is so high for fertilizer and livestock feed as well. Thanks for info-

Kilauea Poetry said...

Just made another comment an lost it all (but remembered I just cleared my cookies!(lol) it's getting too late I can see. Well, your post made me think of the cost of the grain only cause we have one pig still and so I thought of the fert. Have you done any gardening lately? (what I forgot to ask) I managed to plant some asparagus my son had given me and purchased some lime not realizing I still had a bag under the house? I had to beef up the soil.. (still need to add more dirt). So I can imagine- such a fragile place. Anyway, thanks again for the share-

OtienoHongo said...

As usual, posts about Kenya are always appreciated! Just hope that government walks the talk...

Linda said...

That is good news, indeed! Thanks for sharing that info! God is answering prayers beautifully!


Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Wonderful news! You are doing such important work.
Lovely photo, too!

snowwhite said...

Hello, Joyful
What a good new it is!
I do hope irrigation plan will eradicate drought-related hunger from the country as soon as possible. I always feel supply of food is so unfair and unbalanced, differing from country to country.
Best wishes,

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