by Peter Mutai
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Wednesday
said it will seek partnerships to help transform its agriculture
Andrew Tuimur, chief administrative secretary
at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and
Irrigation, said collective efforts will help the country meet
its envisaged 10 percent annual economic growth.
"We can only achieve this once we transform smallholder
agriculture from subsistence to an innovative, commercially
oriented modern agriculture," Tuimur told a national conference
on agricultural public-private policy dialogue in Nairobi.
He attributed low yields and rising soil degradation to
traditional agricultural practices that are practiced by many
Agriculture is the key driver of economic and social
development in Kenya and contributes significantly to food
security, income generation, employment and wealth creation,
Despite the great potential of the private sector in
triggering Kenya’s agricultural growth transformation, Tuimur
said, agriculture is still largely underexploited due to
prevailing policy environment.
The government is working closely with the Food and
Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the European
Union to undertake various policy effectiveness studies to
achieve full food and nutrition security in the country, he
Tuimur told county governments to collaborate with
development partners, the private sector and farmer
organizations to transform agricultural growth by investing in
Kenya says reforms in
place to improve coffee production
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s coffee production is set to improve once
proposed reforms are fully implemented, an official said on
Joseph Kieyah, chairman of state-funded Coffee Sub-sector
Implementation Committee (CSIC), said coffee cherry output per
tree is expected to increase from the current two kilograms to
"The increase is expected to push national production to
100,000 metric tons in the medium term from the current 40,000
metric tons," Kieyah told journalists.
Kieyah attributed the low production to inefficiency of the
value chain that has led to current prices demoralizing
Coffee production is currently oscillating between 40,000
metric tons and 50,000 metric tons, compared to about 130,000
metric tons produced in 1987/88 coffee year, he said.
"Area under coffee has for the two decades dropped to 114,500
hectares from 170,000 hectares, a factor that has also
contributed to decrease in production," Kieyah added.
A 3-billion-shilling (30 million U.S. dollars) coffee cherry
revolving fund was recently announced by President Uhuru
Kenyatta to help coffee farmers secure loans at an interest rate
of 3 percent, he said.
The scheme will start from July.
Kieyah said his committee is determined to provide such
inputs as fertilizers and other agronomy support to help the
farmers raise production and shield against price fluctuations
on the global market.
The government is aware of the declining prices both locally
and internationally and is working on strategies to cushion
growers against the effects, he said.
"We are pursuing the publication of new general and coffee
exchange regulations, intensive marketing of Kenya coffee and
audit of coffee farmers’ cooperative societies," Kieyah said.
Kenya embraces technology
to boost rice production
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s agriculture ministry said on Monday it
will collaborate with researchers and technologists in Africa to
increase rice production and thus boost food security.
Hamadi Boga, principle secretary of the Ministry of
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation said Africa’s
solution to rice deficit relied on adopting innovative
technology in rice production.
"The importance of hybrid rice seed in increasing
productivity and improving farm incomes is critical in Kenya, it
is notable that rice development in Asia has been achieved
through the use of quality seed especially hybrids, replication
of this technology in Africa is a welcome intervention," Boga
said in Nairobi during the launch of the Alliance for Hybrid
Rice in Africa.
He said the introduction of hybrid seeds will address rice
productivity gap in Kenya and Africa at large.
"Our annual production is about 150,000 metric tons (MT)
which is far much below the average demand of 570,000 MT, the
deficit is met through imports which on average cost the country
13 billion shillings (130 million U.S dollars) annually," he
Boga said that the government targets to increase annual rice
production to 406,486 MT by 2022, highlighting modern
technologies in irrigation, mechanization, and adoption of high
yielding seed varieties among the interventions to reduce the
Kenya plans agriculture
research fund to boost food security
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya plans to put in place an agriculture
research fund in order to boost food security, an official said
Hamadi Boga, principal secretary in the Ministry of
Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation said in Nairobi
that despite the bulk of the workforce being employed in
agriculture, Kenya is yet to achieve food self-sufficiency.
"The fund will help the country to prioritize investments in
developing new innovations in agriculture that will boost
productivity especially of small holder farmers," said Boga.
Boga said that all relevant stakeholders including the public
and private sector as well as the local communities will be
consulted before the fund is presented to cabinet for approval.
He revealed that the fund will help Kenya to roll out high
yielding seeds varieties that will enable the country’s
agriculture sector also tackle climate change.
The government official noted that both private and public
research with innovative ideas will be funded from the
agricultural research fund.
According to the country’s policy, Kenya needs to spend at
least two percent of gross domestic product on research.
Boga noted that agriculture research will help Kenya to rely
on scientific evidence to guide farmers on how to improve their
He added that agricultural productivity on key staples such
as maize has been declining despite increased use in fertilizer.
Kenya to promote
indigenous vegetables to combat climate change
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya plans to promote African indigenous
vegetables in order to combat climate change, a research
regulator said on Monday.
Lusike Wasilwa, director of crop systems at Kenya
Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), told
Xinhua in Nairobi that urbanization has led to a shift in diet
from traditional vegetables to modern vegetables.
"We are promoting traditional vegetables because they tend to
be more drought resistant and need fewer pesticides as compared
to conventional vegetables," Wasilwa said.
According to KALRO, the most common indigenous vegetables
include the night shade, amaranth, vine spinach and jute mallow.
In order to encourage uptake of the African indigenous
vegetables, the research body has developed improved seed
varieties to ensure that indigenous vegetables can match the
appeal of the conventional vegetables.
Wasilwa noted that indigenous vegetables are ideal because
they are harvested throughout the year unlike the modern
vegetables which tend to be seasonal.
She said that traditional vegetables have been portrayed as
food for the low income segment of society.
"There is need for sensitization of consumers to ensure the
public is aware of the nutritional benefits of indigenous
vegetables," she added.
Wasilwa said that the country aims to boost food security and
nutrition by mainstreaming the traditional vegetables back into
the diet of Kenyans.
She noted that reliance on a few staple crops such as maize
will affect the country’s ability to achieve food security.