Modern agricultural technology key to boost food security
SEE ALSO :Aflatoxin dents Kenya’s food securityThe agriculture sector accounts directly for a quarter of our nation’s GDP, and indirectly for another quarter, through manufacturing and distribution. More than half of the population is employed in the agriculture sector, and that number rises to a whopping 80 per cent in rural areas. The sector is also responsible for three quarters of industrial raw materials and half of the government’s earnings from exports. Yet, Kenya’s agriculture sector is still one of the least profitable. This is why President Uhuru Kenyatta’s move to implement the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy 2019-2029 is laudable. The plan calls for establishment of a combination of state-owned and predominantly private owned new farm enterprises, with the ultimate goal being to set up 500,000 acres of new farm land. One-million farmers, pastoralists and fishermen across the country will be split into 40 zones made up of 1,000 small and medium size farms and agriculture-related enterprises that will gain government advice and equipment throughout the entire harvesting process. The plan also aims to hire approximately 3,000 youths as extension workers trained in data-driven research. Paying attention to and training the youth in modern agricultural methods is essential to the success of agricultural initiatives. World Bank data shows that 83 per cent of Kenyan land is arid or semi-arid, but only two-percent of arable land is under irrigation. We are dealing with famine due to low rainfall, but global technology that deals with this already exists. Hydroponic and drip irrigation technology, in dry countries like Israel, is not being used enough by local farmers. The government and the president have already shown that they are serious about boosting the effect of agriculture on the economy and eliminating food insecurity.
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