The government has allocated Kshs. 38.9 billion shillings to the agriculture sector in the country to improve food security. This is according to the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy Prof. Micheni Ntiba.
Prof Ntiba said that farming is a key sector in the country’s economy contributing to 65% of total exports and employing 75% of people in rural areas in Kenya.
He was speaking when he officially opened the West Pokot county Agricultural show and Trade fair where he urged Kenyans to embrace commercialization of the sector to be economically viable. He appealed to all counties to ensure that they acquire tractors to boost farmers at an affordable price.
“We want to boost the agriculture sector in the country,” said Ntiba.
He urged the West Pokot county to increase more land under irrigation to assist in food security.
“We urge farmers in this region to embrace irrigation to help in food production,” he said.
Micheni, however, recognized the role the arid county of West Pokot has played given that they lead in livestock rearing in the North rift region.
“Am happy with the county, which is doing well in livestock production,” he said.
West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin said that his government will ensure that good infrastructure is provided so that residents can quickly access the market.
“We have constructed many roads in the county to help farmers transport their produce to markets,” he said.
Kachapin urged farmers to move from subsistence mode of farming to commercial, saying West Pokot depends on agriculture for the majority of its revenue, adding it will assist in eradicating hunger and poverty.
“We want to eradicate hunger in the region,” he said.
He noted that the region has the potential to produce sufficient food to cater for its population if farmers transfer the knowledge they acquire from agricultural field days to their own farms.
“I urge farmers to transfer the acquired knowledge to their own farms so that the yields are increased and this is, of course, achievable if we channel our energies to realize this,” he said.
More than 100 exhibitors have showcased their products and services in the three-day event that commenced Wednesday and the third in a row since the inception of devolution.
The exhibitors, ranging from those in the agricultural, financial, health, energy, textile and livestock sectors among others, showcased their products and services to the public at the event.
Farmers from different parts of the county turned up for the event that was greeted with merry as new ideas were exchanged between them and service providers.