, PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY OF KENYA, NAKURU NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW, FRIDAY, 5 TH JULY, 2013 Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to join you all for the official opening of the 2013 Agricultural Society of Kenya Nakuru National Show. The theme of this year’s show is “Enhancing Technology and Industry for Food Security and National Growth”. This theme is a reflection of the important role technology can play in agriculture, 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 this regard, my Government will focus on promoting technological development in agriculture as 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 agriculture from subsistence to commercial farming. I am confident that through the development of a vibrant agro-based industry,we shall be able to not only ensure food security but also attain and sustain double-digit economic growth rates. We must now transform our farming enterprises from producers of primary raw materials to producers of value added products that are ready for consumption. Ladies and Gentlemen, Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy. Indeed, the sector is expected to play a key role in delivering the 10 percent annual economic growth rate envisaged under the economic 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 food insecurity in the country has been reduced from 56 percent to less than 35 percent of the population currently. In spite of this progress, challenges remain. Indeed, a substantial number of our people remain exposed to food insecurity and malnutrition. Additionally, a large proportion of our farmers still operate at the subsistence level and are impoverished. More importantly, we remain producers of raw products and our agriculture remains largely rain-fed and is therefore vulnerable to erratic weather conditions. As I stated during my inauguration earlier this year, my Government will focus on addressing 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 the rural people who depend on the sector. In this regard, the Government will focus on key interventions that will improve production and value addition.

As I pledge the commitment of my Government to promote agriculture, Kenyans must bear in mind that most agricultural activities and funding have been devolved to the counties as required under Schedule 4 of the Constitution. The main responsibility of managing the sector, therefore, lies with county governments. I call upon county leaders to set their priorities most prudently bearing in mind that agriculture is the key sector of our economy and what happens to the sector at the county level will have direct implications on the overall performance of our national economy. Ladies and Gentlemen, On its part, and as a priority, the National Government will continue to cushion farmers against high input prices. In this connection, the Government has this year subsidized the prices of fertilizers from 3,800 Kenya Shillings to 2,500 Kenya Shillings for planting fertilizers 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 to farmers at subsidized prices, with Nakuru County receiving 7,000 MT. The aim of this intervention is to make fertilizers accessible and affordable to farmers across the country in order to enhance agricultural productivity. My Government will continue to ensure that fertilizer, and other farm inputs - including seeds, animal feeds, fish feeds and agrochemicals - are available and affordable to farmers. Further, my Government will prioritize irrigation. Although our country is endowed with enormous water resources which can be harnessed for irrigation, most agricultural production 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 manifesto is to put an additional one million acres under irrigation over the next five years. I have made this pledge well aware that to put one million acres under irrigation we will require heavy capital outlay estimated at around 250 billion Kenya Shillings. However, I believe we are capable of raising the requisite resources for this worthy cause. Already, the Government has deliberately placed irrigation and storm water harvesting as a priority national agenda. In order to demonstrate this commitment, 347 million Kenya Shillings has been set aside to finance the construction of 132 water harvesting structures country-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. I urge farmers to embrace irrigated agriculture - as well as production through water harvesting - in order for us to mitigate effects of erratic rainfall as we have experienced in the past. Ladies and Gentlemen, In addition to these measures, my Government strengthening agricultural institutions as well as agricultural produce. With respect to agricultural implement the Agricultural Research Act 2013 and Authority Act 2013 as soon as possible. will also pay close attention to improving access to markets for institutions, my Government will the Agriculture Food and Fisheries

These Acts aim at consolidating research institutions under the Kenya Agricultural Research

Organization as well as the agricultural regulatory bodies under one organization respectively. I call upon the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to ensure that all policies and legislations that have already been passed by Parliament are implemented. We will also take steps to ensure that the Agricultural Finance Corporation is converted to a farmers’ bank to facilitate accessibility of credit to farmers. To further facilitate availability of credit, my Government will streamline management of cooperatives in the country in line with the new Sacco Societies Act, 2008. With respect to markets, my Government will ensure that farmers have access to markets for their produce by providing market information as well as ensuring good rural infrastructure, which will entail establishing a chain of market infrastructure all the way from the constituency to national level. Ladies and Gentlemen, In addition to these measures, the Government will scale up the implementation of sectorspecific agricultural projects in various parts of the country. Among others, these projects include the Traditional High Value Crops Programme which aims at improving access to quality seeds of various traditional food crops and the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion Unit Project whose overall goal is to improve the livelihoods of horticulture smallholders through training on production and marketing of high value horticultural crops. Nakuru County has benefited from these and other projects especially through the provision of seedlings as well as training of farmers in various areas including on water harvesting and soil fertility as well as greenhouse technology and value addition. I wish to note, at this point, that Nakuru County remains the bread basket of our country. I encourage farmers to adopt the recommended technologies and farming practices to increase production in order for the country to realize food sufficiency and produce surplus for the market. I am aware that the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease has affected maize production in several counties in this region. I am also aware that a task-force was put in place to establish the exact cause of the disease and recommend measures to control the virus. I call upon the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture,Livestock and Fisheries to take immediate steps towards addressing this challenge. In conclusion, I thank all exhibitors for the impressive displays and demonstrations on stage. I also commend the Agricultural Society of Kenya and all those who contributed towards making this National Show a success. It is my duty now to declare the 2013 Agricultural Society of Kenya, Nakuru National Show officially open. Thank you and God bless you all.

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