Kenya is set to benefit through a new partnership with the European Union to bolster food production and help achieve food and nutrition security locally.
The European Union Commission Monday pledged to support agricultural productivity in Kenya by supporting the government’s initiatives on food security and also by extending support to local small-scale farmers to improve their incomes and food production.
This was revealed by Ms. Henriette Geiger, the Ambassador of the EU to Kenya while meeting Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi at his Kilimo House office.
The ambassador said the EU is keen to partner with the ministry to enhance food security and increase incomes by improving the competitiveness and diversity of agricultural market systems and livelihoods.
“Our main mission is to support the Kenyan government’s plans to achieve food security. We want to take youth to the farms by empowering them through capacity building, and mechanization technology to improve food productivity,” said Geiger.
Linturi welcomed the new partnership with the EU Commission which he said will help the Kenyan government plans to end food insecurity.
“Our meeting to explore possible areas of partnership in the agricultural sector is crucial because it comes at a time when our government is implementing strategies to support food production,” stated Linturi.
Linturi said the ministry is also keen to partner with the EU to impact farmers with capacity building, technological advancement, market linkages, and increasing youth participation in agriculture among other interventions to make Kenya a food-secure nation.
“I’m excited with the pledge by the EU delegation to support the ministry achieve a food and nutrition secure Kenya through technical and financial aid to our ambitious plans to modernize and transform Agriculture,” he added.
Other areas of collaboration between Kenya and the EU include; scholarships to train more youth in agriculture, mechanization of farming practices and land digitization program.
He also assured the EU delegation that the ministry will incorporate all the Governors in the partnership in order to ensure farmers across the 47 Counties benefit from the collaboration with the EU Commission.
Linturi further outlined to the EU delegation the government’s ongoing subsidy programs aimed at making farm inputs affordable and accessible by farmers as a strategy to achieve sustainable agricultural systems to boost food security.
“The government has already committed a total of Sh19.8 billion to subsidize a total of 388,000MT of various types of fertilizer for the 2023 long rains. This will ensure that the targeted farmer beneficiaries access the fertilizers at subsidized prices,” said Linturi.
The delegation of 17 EU envoys also committed to supporting Kenyan farmers to recover from the prolonged drought that led to the loss of lives and livestock in the country.
Crops Development Principal Secretary Harsama Kello, Livestock Development Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai and other senior ministry officials were present during the talks.
Kello appealed to the EU delegation to extend their support to local farmers by training them in horticulture farming to ensure their products meet the required international standards while his Livestock Development counterpart `PS Kimutai encouraged the EU delegation to lobby for investors from their countries to invest in Kenya’s agricultural sector noting that it will create more job opportunities for Kenyans.
The agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy, however, agricultural productivity has stagnated in recent years due to the prolonged drought which has led to a decline in yields and loss of livestock.