The inaugural Future of Food Conference held in Nairobi has seen players advocate for close collaboration between the Kenyan government and private sector in order to enhance agricultural production and guarantee sufficient food security in the country.
The farming sector has also urged the government to consider subsidizing fertilizers for small scale farmers with less than two acres to enhance food production.
Chairman Fertilizer Association, Eustace Muriuki said the government should also revive agriculture training institutes and also employ extension service officers to ensure that maximum yields come from the small holder farmers.
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said if the government is willing to unlock the potential of the agricultural sector, then functional public systems should be put in place.
She also emphasized on the importance of Africa exploring agricultural intra-trade opportunities that are vast in the continent to enable Africa create jobs for its youth.
“Exploring opportunities in agriculture will see an increased intra-regional trade and the attraction of foreign direct investment. It would be vital to improve the ease of doing business and work in partnership with the private sector,” Dr. Kalibata highlighted.
Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Ireland in Kenya, Ms. Lisa Doherty highlighted some key elements of success that Kenya can learn from Ireland.
These includes the role of the Government in supporting growth through strategy and supports, the cooperative movement and mechanisation, technology and knowledge-led agriculture.
In his remarks, Dr. Andrew Tuimur, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Irrigation said the government has put measures in place to boost food security.
The agricultural sector in Kenya annually contributes 26% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) directly and a further 27% through manufacturing, distribution and service sectors.
The sector employs over 80% of Kenya’s rural work force and provides 18% of formal employment.
The crops, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors are the main components of the sector contributing 72%, 18% and 3% of the Agricultural GDP respectively.