The Government has embarked on a four-month national registration of farmers as part of efforts to increase productivity and open up new markets for their produce.
This emerged when the Cabinet secretaries for Agriculture and ICT met 15 governors in Naivasha on Friday to launch the exercise that was mooted two years ago.
“We want to register all the farmers as part of automating the agriculture sector. This will help them to get farming inputs at the touch of a button,” Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said.
Mr Kiunjuri admitted that the Government did not have any data on farmers in the country, noting that a similar exercise in 2009 had failed.
Joe Mucheru, the ICT CS, expressed optimism that the registration exercise would be completed in 120 days and urged farmers to co-operate.
He assured the farmers that their data would be safe, adding that when completed, farming methods, implements and markets would be made available.
“The exercise will be crucial to farmers and help them access vital information easily. This is part of the Government's Big Four agenda.”
Kiunjuri also noted that the ongoing rains had hampered crop production because of flooding.
“The rains have affected the sector but plans are underway to harvest the water, which will come in handy during the dry season,” he said.
On the fall armyworms that have wreaked havoc across the country, Kiunjuri said a consultative meeting had been called next week to seek a way forward.
“There is no quick solution to the pest, which was first reported in Brazil and America. It is a concern as it has destroyed crops worth millions."
Council of Governors chairman Joseph Nanok said the initiative would result in increased food production but called on the Government to lower the cost of farm equipment by 50 per cent.
“We are collaborating with the national government in this noble exercise. We applaud the President for picking agriculture and security in his Big Four agenda,” he said.
Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria said his government had already registered 300,000 farmers and distributed seeds, fertiliser and pesticides.
“Though the ongoing rains have caused havoc and deaths in parts of the country, in Murang'a we expect the highest yields ever mainly in maize production,” he said.