Farmers to reap big in value addition scheme

NAIROBI: The Government will invest heavily to enhance commercial farming and industrialisation to boost food security to feed the growing population.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said State is putting in place measures to drive agricultural and industrial transformation so as to build resilience in the economy. He added that the Government is also seeking to lower food prices, increase quality and diversification of exports, accelerate inclusive growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.

The CS observed that to make the economy strong, there is need to extend more resources to boost strategies for taming bottlenecks such as unemployment, underdevelopment and poverty. "We are continuing to invest in irrigated agriculture, partly to build resilience in our economy and assure food security," said Rotich.

According to the Economic Survey 2015, the sector grew by 3.5 per cent in 2014 from 5.2 per cent in 2013, thus the need for the Government to allocate more resources as well as implement bold strategies to arouse high production.

Rotich allocated the sector Sh13.8 billion to finance the ongoing irrigation projects and transformation of agriculture from subsistence to productive commercial farming covering about one million acres.

The allocation includes Sh10.3 billion for National Irrigation Board and Sh3.5 billion to fund the Galana/Kulalu irrigation project. The irrigation activities will be undertaken by the new Ministry of Water and Irrigation headed by Eugene Wamalwa.

The Government has also allocated Sh29.5 billion for water supply and sanitation and Sh2.1 billion for water storage and flood control. Sh12.6 billion will go to environmental conservation and management.

Rotich said the money will be committed to fund inputs subsidy (Sh3 billion), strategic grain resources (Sh2.7 billion), fisheries development (Sh3.1 billion), revival of Kenya Meat Commission (Sh0.6 billion) and pyrethrum sector (Sh0.3 billion).

Further, the money will finance free disease zones (Sh0.3 billion), Sh1.2 billion for compensation of farmers in Mwea Irrigation Scheme, Sh1 billion for coffee debt write off and Sh3.5 billion for land titling.

To enhance industrialisation, Rotich said the Government will boost value addition on top of establishment of industrial parks, recreation parks and special economic zones.