East Africa

Agriculture can transform Africa, says Kenyatta


President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the Government has put in place the necessary regulatory and policy frameworks to harness the potential in agriculture to transform the country.

President Kenyatta said Government was also fixing regulations and processes that deny the farmer the ability to benefit from value-addition of their products.

He cited coffee whose regulation and processes means that farmer “who grows the product does not even know what he will get and just sits back and waits. This is a huge dis-incentive”.

President Kenyatta said the government is working on value addition in upgrading infrastructure to enable farmers access the market, credit, and working on policies to de-risk agriculture.

Other areas the government is working on include frameworks that will enable women to own land as major stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector.

The President spoke as part of a panel that included Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu, President of African Development Bank(AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina and Deputy Chairperson of African Union Erastus Mwencha during the World Economic Forum in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

The Head of State highlighted the various steps the Government was taking to ensure attainment of the country’s development blueprint, Vision 2030.  Vision 2030 is a national long-term development policy that aims to transform Kenya into a middle-income economy.

The Vision comprises of three key pillars: Economic; Social; and Political that aims at achieving an average economic growth rate of 10 per cent per annum and sustaining the same until 2030.

The leaders discussed the progress and priorities in promoting agriculture as a growth sector in food security, job creation and reliable incomes to rural populations.

“We in Kenya are ensuring better management of diminishing water resources to avail enough water for irrigation as we shift from rain-fed agriculture,” the Head of State said.

President Kenyatta informed the gathering the Government’s efforts in scaling up issuance of title deeds in the country.

To achieve Vision 2030, the President encouraged youth to venture into farming as a career to earn income as well as grow the country’s economy. He added thatinvolvement of youth in the agriculture give the sector the necessary impetus to achieve the development blueprint.

“Agriculture as it stands is an aged sector and requires fresh blood to be injected. We cannot achieve Vision 2030 without the full participation of the younger generation,” he added.

Prime Minister Hailemariam emphasized the need for governments to own the agriculture sector for partnerships with donors, private sector and civil society groups to have positive impacts.

Tanzanian Vice President on her part explained the “Kilimo Kwanza” concept, a home-grown idea that entails mobilisation of the active participation of all Tanzanians, Development Partners and Private sectors to enhance the agricultural economy.

The AfDB President, on his part, called for paradigm shift in Agriculture perception for the sector to achieve the desired results saying the continent spends $35 billion on food imports.

President Kenyatta was accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and several Cabinet Secretaries.

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