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

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid