News / Africa

Kenya Aims for Food Self-Sufficiency

The Kenyan government plans to boost food production with improved extension services to farmers.  (INCRISAT)
The Kenyan government plans to boost food production with improved extension services to farmers. (INCRISAT)
Reuben Kyama
With more than 40 million people, Kenya is one of East Africa’s most populous countries. But over the years, long droughts have led to a serious shortage of water and food – making it harder to meet the demand for food.
The new government under President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to turn around the situation – by transforming Kenya from a food-deficit country to a food sufficient nation.

Within days of his appointment on May 15, Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Felix Kiptarus Koskei, said he favors home grown solutions that not only ensure food self-reliance but also transform society.

“We will emphasize extension services where our officers will train local farmers on crop husbandry, and ensure that whatever they are planting is planted well and that the farm inputs are used very well,” he said.

Koskei said his ministry was determined to help farmers improve their yields by ensuring that subsidized, imported farm inputs such as fertilizers reached them by the beginning of every planting season. 
 
Asked about the use of genetically modified seeds, and of food produced from them,  the cabinet secretary said he would base his decisions on science.
 
“As you are aware GMO is a science,” he said. “[The controversy over using GMO seeds] cannot be solved by moral arguments, by faith standpoints, by spiritual decisions. Let the scientists give us the answer. We have the Biosafety Authority which is mandated to look at any genetic-based issues. We have highly qualified scientists in this country, and we are urging them to come up and confirm to Kenyans whether or not GMO has a negative effect.

Aside from an emphasis on improving extension services and improved inputs, he said the government will choose new areas for irrigation, including those next to the Tana and Galana rivers, like Bura and Hola. 

“We are to irrigate a million acres in five years,” he said, “and this will begin immediately. Within two to three years we will have enough food for Kenyans.”
Koskei said the drive for independence in domestic food production would take precedence over deals to export food.
 
“We are now focusing on food security first, “ he said. “I know countries such as Qatar would want to lease and expect to grow food to export to their home countries, but we need to be realistic. We need to be self-sufficient, and then the surplus can be exported.”

Intvw w/ Kenya's Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Felix Kiptarus Koskei
Intvw w/ Kenya's Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Felix Kiptarus Koskeii
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid