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President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech During the Official Opening of the Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nakuru National Agricultural Show, Friday, 5th July, 2013

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech During the Official Opening of the Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nakuru National Agricultural Show, Friday, 5th July, 2013

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Published by State House Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech During the Official Opening of the Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nakuru National Agricultural Show, Friday, 5th July, 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta's Speech During the Official Opening of the Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nakuru National Agricultural Show, Friday, 5th July, 2013

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Published by: State House Kenya on Jul 05, 2013
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JULY, 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,I am pleased to join you all for the official opening of the 2013 Agricultural Society of KenyaNakuru National Show.The theme of this year’s show is “Enhancing Technology and Industry for Food Security andNational Growth”. This theme is a reflection of the important role technology can play inagriculture, industry and more importantly in enhancing food security.Indeed, the theme is consistent with the Jubilee Government’s aspiration and aim of promoting agribusiness as a significant driver in the realization of Vision 2030. In thisregard, my Government will focus on promoting technological development in agricultureas one of the takeoff points towards making this Vision a reality.I, therefore, call upon farmers and all other stakeholders to focus on moving our agriculturefrom subsistence to commercial farming. I am confident that through the development of avibrant agro-based industry,we shall be able to not only ensure food security but also attainand sustain double-digit economic growth rates. We must now transform our farmingenterprises from producers of primary raw materials to producers of value added productsthat are ready for consumption.Ladies and Gentlemen,Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy. Indeed, the sector is expected to play akey role in delivering the 10 percent annual economic growth rate envisaged under theeconomic pillar of Kenya Vision 2030. It is encouraging to note that over the last 10 years,the sector has made remarkable progress, achieving an impressive average growth rate of 5.6 percent despite challenges of frequent and severe droughts. Moreover, overall foodinsecurity in the country has been reduced from 56 percent to less than 35 percent of thepopulation currently.In spite of this progress, challenges remain. Indeed, a substantial number of our peopleremain exposed to food insecurity and malnutrition. Additionally, a large proportion of ourfarmers still operate at the subsistence level and are impoverished. More importantly, weremain producers of raw products and our agriculture remains largely rain-fed and istherefore vulnerable to erratic weather conditions.As I stated during my inauguration earlier this year, my Government will focus onaddressing these challenges in order to promote agriculture not only as a means of economic development but also as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty among therural people who depend on the sector. In this regard, the Government will focus on keyinterventions that will improve production and value addition.
As I pledge the commitment of my Government to promote agriculture, Kenyans must bearin mind that most agricultural activities and funding have been devolved to the counties asrequired under Schedule 4 of the Constitution. The main responsibility of managing thesector, therefore, lies with county governments. I call upon county leaders to set theirpriorities most prudently bearing in mind that agriculture is the key sector of our economyand what happens to the sector at the county level will have direct implications on theoverall performance of our national economy.Ladies and Gentlemen,On its part, and as a priority, the National Government will continue to cushion farmersagainst high input prices. In this connection, the Government has this year subsidized theprices of fertilizers from 3,800 Kenya Shillings to 2,500 Kenya Shillings for plantingfertilizers and from 2,700 Kenya Shillings to 1,600 Kenya Shillings for topdressing fertilizers.This year, various fertilizers valued at 2.7 billion Kenya Shillings have been availed tofarmers at subsidized prices, with Nakuru County receiving 7,000 MT. The aim of thisintervention is to make fertilizers accessible and affordable to farmers across the country inorder to enhance agricultural productivity. My Government will continue to ensure thatfertilizer, and other farm inputs - including seeds, animal feeds, fish feeds andagrochemicals - are available and affordable to farmers.Further, my Government will prioritize irrigation. Although our country is endowed withenormous water resources which can be harnessed for irrigation, most agriculturalproduction in Kenya is rain-fed. It is not acceptable that we have only irrigated 15 percent of our irrigable land. It is for this reason that one of our commitments in the Jubilee manifestois to put an additional one million acres under irrigation over the next five years. I havemade this pledge well aware that to put one million acres under irrigation we will requireheavy capital outlay estimated at around 250 billion Kenya Shillings. However, I believe weare capable of raising the requisite resources for this worthy cause.Already, the Government has deliberately placed irrigation and storm water harvesting as apriority national agenda. In order to demonstrate this commitment, 347 million KenyaShillings has been set aside to finance the construction of 132 water harvesting structurescountry-wide under the water harvesting for food security programmes.In this County, 4 structures have been constructed at a cost of 10 million Kenya Shillings. Iurge farmers to embrace irrigated agriculture - as well as production through waterharvesting - in order for us to mitigate effects of erratic rainfall as we have experienced inthe past.Ladies and Gentlemen,In addition to these measures, my Government will also pay close attention tostrengthening agricultural institutions as well as improving access to markets foragricultural produce. With respect to agricultural institutions, my Government willimplement the Agricultural Research Act 2013 and the Agriculture Food and FisheriesAuthority Act 2013 as soon as possible.These Acts aim at consolidating research institutions under the Kenya Agricultural Research

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Ronald Munyithya added this note
Hope the Country governments would take the call seriously. Mr. President seems to be acutely alert of where this country should be and how to get it there. May the Lord continue to sharpen this vision even more.
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