The Ministry of Agriculture is calling on the African region stakeholders to embrace best management practices to lift the status of Agriculture which it termed as poor in Africa.
The PS in the Ministry Romano Kiome said that despite the good coffee prices enjoyed by the country the crop is still doing poorly on the yields. Other crops that are doing poorly include cotton and cassava. The PS is however optimistic of horticultural products citing floriculture as a major booster for Kenya.
“Kenya is the leading producer of flowers and has the potential to do even better in the industry,” said Kiome during the All Agricultural Commodities Programme (AAACP) dissemination workshop.
The PS attributed the low yields to low credit facilities,poor agricultural institutions, poor utilisation of agricultural potential like irrigation, low application of technology that is due to poor training and technical know how. He is however calling for the training of farmers.
“We have highly illiterate people doing agriculture, dissemination of information and training of farmers will be crucial,” said the PS.
Kiome termed the commodities problem as imperative for the agricultural sector, however he said that through the piloting project aimed at solving the problems, there is a need to take stock, shares findings and disseminate success stories of the programme.
“During the past four years, of implementation, the pilot projects funded under the programme, have enabled partners to test innovative approaches to solving major obstacles hindering the ACP agricultural producers,” said Kiome.
The workshop revealed that cassava may reduce poverty by improving and stabilizing incomes to farmers in Kenya and the Eastern and Southern African regions due to its potential on its varied uses.
The commodity can be used for large scale flour processing for human consumption, animal feeds and can also be exported as flour to other countries for revenue.
On his part, the head of the EU delegation in Kenya, Lodewijk Briet observed that ACP commodity sectors have difficulties in adapting to increasingly harsh international competition and changes in the international market environment.
“At the national level, deregulation is often in the process of being implemented while state extension and other support services have been reduced without adequate replacement by the private sector,” noted Briet.
The Ministry of Agriculture and livestock department received a total of Sh7,980 million(60 million Euros) from the EU for the next three years to facilitate regular programmes in the two ministries.
Another Sh5,985 million (45 million Euros) was meant for the regional programmes in Eastern and Southern African region to improve programmes on value chain commodities with 27 percent of the funds going to the East African region.
Kiome at the same time said that the ministry will focus its priorities on sugar, dairy, horticulture and tea commodities to improve the status of agriculture.