SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. UHURU KENYATTA, C.G.H., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 2017 CENTRAL KENYA REGIONAL SHOW AT KABIRUINI SHOWGROUND, NYERI ON 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2017

On August 16, 2018 In Statements and Speeches

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me pleasure to join you today during this official opening of the 2017 Central Kenya Show.  Let me take this opportunity also to register my appreciation to the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) and Exhibitors, whose hard work and commitment has made the 2017 Central Kenya Regional  Agricultural Show a success.

Over the years, the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) has contributed to the development of agriculture throughout the country by organizing shows like this where the latest technologies in agricultural production and agribusiness are exhibited.  This provides an opportunity for farmers to learn new and modern farming technologies.  I wish to thank the society for this noble role and contribution.  I encourage all of you to take advantage of this Show to pick some ideas and information on farming techniques which you can adopt to improve productivity of your various agricultural enterprises.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 2017 show theme is ‘Promoting Innovation and Technology in Agriculture and Trade’.  This theme emphasizes the importance of innovations and technology as key drivers in enhancing food security, agricultural growth and trade, which contributes significantly to the development of this County and the Country at large.  In Kenya, agricultural development is a key to industrialization as most of the industries are agro-based.  Therefore, any technology and innovation that promotes agricultural and industrial development must be embraced.  

This will promote national growth and enhance the achievement of Kenya Vision 2030, which aims at transforming Kenya into a newly-industrialized, middle-income country.  My Administration is, therefore, keen in playing its role by promoting competitive and commercially oriented agriculture through utilization of modern and efficient agricultural technologies.  I, therefore, wish to call upon the farmers and other stakeholders to transform subsistence agricultural production to farming as a business so as to develop a vibrant agro-based industry and trade in the country. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Food security remains a priority in our development agenda, and to this end, there is a deliberate effort to boost growth in the agriculture sector by addressing the major challenges facing the sector.  In this regard, my Government is keen in implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as envisaged in the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and eradication of hunger by 2030. 

The Government will continue to increase investments and implement of programmes to support smallholder farmers, youth, women, fisher folk and pastoralists to sustainably produce and market various commodities for increased food security, income generation and improved livelihoods.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My Government has continued to enhance investment in the agricultural sector especially in increased access to agricultural inputs and markets by farmers. 

In the 2016/17 financial year, the Government allocated Kshs 29.6 billion to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries for implementation of key interventions including subsidized inputs, Strategic Food Reserve, crops, livestock and fisheries development, that will result in reduction in cost of living particularly by reducing food prices and boosting overall rural development.  The funds will be directed to key flagship projects.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you already know, most of the functions in Agriculture have been devolved to the County Governments. 

At this moment, I would like to call upon County Governments to commit more resources towards the revitalization of agriculture in their respective counties to feed the nation.

Kenya is endowed with ideal climatic conditions for growth of a wide range of crops and livestock enterprises. 

The county Government should continue to revise and customize the National agricultural related laws and policies to suit the current technological advances and research. 

Am informed the County Government of Nyeri has developed seven bills addressing various areas of the sector.  Those bills are already in the County assembly awaiting enactment.  I call upon the County assembly to settle down quickly and fast track the enactment of those bills for our people to realise their benefits.  I am equally informed that the county government of Nyeri has allocated Kshs 110 million in the current FY to the department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries towards enhancing agricultural development and, therefore, boosting overall rural development.  The funds will be directed to key flagship projects including value addition, disease control, livestock breeding, input subsidy and food security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The tea and coffee sector continue to be important in the economy of this country, contributing substantially to the country’s foreign exchange earnings and creating job opportunities.  Kenya is known worldwide to be producing the best qualities of tea and coffee.  The Government is aware of the challenges facing these sub-sectors, among them High cost of production and processing, Declining soil fertility especially in the traditional coffee growing areas, Low productivity, Market risks, inefficient processing infrastructure, declining land holdings and limited value addition for exports and domestic consumption. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nyeri County has an area of 13,965Ha under coffee production, with 24 coffee cooperative societies, 101 coffee factories and a membership of 98,000 small holder farmers.  In addition, there are 149 coffee estates.  My Government is undertaking a number of measures aimed at revitalizing the sub- sectors which include: legal and policy frameworks, promotion of value addition, debt waiver for growers to ease their debt burden to the tune of ksh 9.5 Billion between 2006/07 – 2011/12.

Fertilizer subsidy, Establishment of Commodities Fund, Modernization of the Nairobi Coffee Exchange into a Commodities Exchange and full liberalization and diversification of market access are some of the initiatives being undertaken by my Government.

My Government encourages the Nyeri County Government to continue to fulfil its mandate by formulating and overseeing implementation of several policy and legal instruments such as: Tea Cess Act and Agriculture Development Fund Act, as well as Livestock bill, Coffee bill and Tea bill. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As farmers endeavour to increase production of the agriculture, livestock and fisheries I encourage the County Government to establish cottage industries and value addition initiatives to raise the value of the farm produce.  This should be attained by involvement of local private investors as well as international investors and development partners to venture and benefit from this unexploited potential.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My Government has continued to put in place measures to address food availability in the country. 

The government continues to transform the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) in order to have a wide variety of food stocks, stabilize food prices and adequately cater for any emergencies.  In the 2016/17 financial year, the Government allocated Kshs. 5.5 Billion for purchase of maize for the Strategic Food Reserve.  The aim of the Government is to increase the maize stocks in the reserve from 3 Million bags to 4 million bags.  SFR is implementing the ongoing Government maize subsidy programme to cushion consumers against high maize flour prices.  To-date, the subsidy Programme has imported 5.7 million bags of maize at a cost of Ksh. 20.4 Billion. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The livestock sub-sector contributes immensely to Kenya’s economy by providing employment, food security and raw materials for agro-industries.  The livestock industry contributes over Kshs. 450 billion from the sale of various products including milk, beef, mutton, pork and poultry, among others.  To increase milk production, my Government, in collaboration with the County Governments, will continue to enhance the provision of extension services to the farmers in the County.  

In addition, the control of notifiable livestock diseases in the dairy sector will also be a priority of my Government.   Further, the Government has acquired 350 milk coolers to be distributed to high potential areas including Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a and Nyandarua.

To ensure that the farmers do not lose their milk due to its perishability nature, the County Government will support the farmers with milk coolers which will be placed in strategic places for milk storage as it awaits collection.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nyeri County is a high potential area for horticultural crops and is also major player in livestock sub-sector.  In 2014 the county realized over Kshs 4.6 billion from the sale of various horticultural products and the dairy farmers produced over 175 million litres of milk, valued at over Kshs 5.3 billion.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fisheries sector plays an important role in the economic and social development of our country.  The sector is a major contributor to our food and nutrition security, income generation and employment to fish folks and those in related trade.  

The per capita fish consumption in Kenya is estimated at about 4.5 kg and remains behind compared to our neighbours in East Africa.  Furthermore Kenya has seen an expanded local market following the “Eat More fish Campaigns” that have been undertaken since 2009.  There is need for increased production from our fish farms, lakes and oceans to eradicate the need to import more fish.   Counties should take this as a serious opportunity for economic growth.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My Government continues to support fish farming to diversify and meet national food security goals.  The overall objective is to increase fish production in the country by 10% annually to achieve a target of 450,000 MT by 2030.  In this regard, my Government has instituted key reforms for sustainable management and development of the fisheries sector to spur economic growth. 

For instance, the Government enacted the New Fisheries Management and Development Act 2016, which established independent institutions including the Kenya Fisheries Service (KFS), Kenya Fisheries Marketing Authority (KFMA) and Kenya Fisheries Advisory Council (KFAC) to steer development of the fisheries sector.  In Nyeri County, Fish farming a key sub-sector where fishing is done either in rivers, dams and ponds with farmers already having a total of 2,488 fish ponds.  In pursuit of enhancing fish farming in the county, there is need to continue to support fish farmers with extension services and trainings on modern fish husbandry in order to enhance fish production and hence boost their income. 

I am urging the farmers to make good use of the Wamagana fish processing facility, which is currently operating under capacity due to low fish production.

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, with these remarks, may I welcome you all to the Central Kenya National Show and encourage you to learn and gain from the technologies exhibited on enhancing food security and national growth.  Once again, I would like to thank the Agricultural Society of Kenya, the exhibitors and all those who have contributed towards making this Show a success. 

It is now my pleasure to declare the 2017 A.S.K. Nyeri Show officially open. 

GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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