NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
on Wednesday formed a taskforce to help revamp the sugar
industry which is facing a lot of challenges.
cabinet secretary in ministry of agriculture, livestock and
irrigation, said that the task force will help identify the
challenges and offer practical solutions which would address the
“Over the years, the
sugar sub sector has suffered a number of challenges which have
led to inadequate production of sugar for national consumption
and for export hence denying steady income to farmers,” Kiunjuri
said during the launch of the taskforce in Nairobi.
He noted that
through the implementation of the recommendations of the task
force, all the stakeholders in the value chain will achieve
value from their endeavors.
Kiunjuri said that
the recommendations will also address the challenge of the
current uncompetitiveness of the industry as well as contribute
to the economic growth of the country.
Sugarcane farmers in
Kenya are faced with low cane supply, cane poaching, aging
equipment, obsolete technology and high debt portfolio, among
The move follows a
directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta recently that a sugar
industry taskforce be established to look into ways of how it
can become vibrant and benefit farmers.
During their tenure,
the task force members will review the policy, legal, regulatory
and institutional framework of the sugar industry and make
They will also
review past, present and emerging challenges; review the value
chain including research and review importation and taxation
structures in the sugar sector.
The team that has 30
days to present their findings will also undertake an absolute
and comparative assessment of the sugar industry’s
competitiveness in the East African Community, the Common
Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa and globally.
FAO unveils toolbox to boost
solar powered irrigation in East Africa
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on
Wednesday unveiled a toolbox to help promote solar powered
irrigation across the east Africa region.
FAO’s land and water officer for Kenya, said that the
solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) will be used to scale up
solutions for irrigation and other productive uses, such as
livestock watering, homestead gardening and domestic uses.
“The toolbox will
help increase arable land since land used for agriculture under
rain fed is already shrinking,” Gitonga said during a meeting
for irrigation experts from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Ghana and
Nigeria held in Nairobi.
that even though solar pumps are commonly used for drinking
water supply in East Africa, there is a need to better
understand the feasibility, applicability and their potential in
He said that with
the reduction of water due to climate change, there is need for
supplementary irrigation in food production to help feed the
increasing population in the region.
“The introduction of
the toolbox will play an important role in increasing food
productivity per acreage and also increase production from arid
and semi-arid lands into serious food producing areas,” he
The FAO official
said that there has been a growing interest in solar
technologies in recent years because they are relatively
affordable, climate friendly and adaptable to different
farmers to produce food when there is low rainfall and during
off seasons,” he added. Gitonga noted that the new toolbox has
made farming through solar irrigation interesting especially for
He revealed that the
UN agency has carried out a number of relevant studies,
including an assessment of water resources in Kalobeyei and
Kakuma in northern Kenya looking for applicability for refugee
camps and host communities.
Gitonga noted that
given the plenty of sunshine and willingness of the private
sector in support of solar power, the regional countries are
capable of producing plenty of food both for local consumption
He however noted
that the new initiative requires building of capacity for users,
proper financing, good water quality and quantity and hectares
of land to irrigate to help make a difference.
The official said
that the workshop is meant to provide participants with an
overview of what is needed to make solar technologies work in
different contexts - finance, design, set-up and irrigation
management and how to create an enabling environment for the
sustainable use of SPIS.
SPIS provides a
clean alternative to fossil fuels and enables the development of
low-carbon irrigated agriculture.
The toolbox was
developed by FAO in collaboration with German Technical
Kenya starts data collection on
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s agriculture ministry said Thursday it has
embarked on data collection on farming to help improve
cabinet secretary for agriculture, livestock, fisheries and
irrigation, said the move has been necessitated due to lack of
proper data on the agricultural sector.
“We have started
registering farmers countrywide so that we may know their exact
number and acreage of land that they own,” Kiunjuri said during
a sorghum forum in Nairobi.
The data is expected
to help inform on soil fertility levels in all parts of the
country and offer information to farmers on what fertilizers to
use and what seeds to plant, Kiunjuri said.
“The data will help
us know the root cause of problems that has led to low
performance of the agricultural sector,” he added.
Kiunjuri said the
data, which will be used to spur growth of the sector, will be
unveiled and disseminated to farmers in the middle of next year.
The government has
formed a cereal enhancement program to look at the quality of
seeds, introduce drought-tolerant and early-maturing seed
varieties, he said.
Kiunjuri noted that
the government is considering introducing contract farming in
the country to save farmers from suffering food wastes.
“We are working on
blending of maize, sorghum and cassava flour in one packet to
help reduce over-reliance on maize and help reduce malnutrition
in the country,” he added.