President Uhuru Kenyatta buys the Champion Bull (Boran) at the cost of Sh700,000 during an auction, when he officiated the official opening of 2016 Nairobi International ASK Show on October 5, 2016. Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero also bought another bull for Sh600,000. [Photo: Kibet Cheptumo/KNA]
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the Government has introduced a crop insurance scheme to cushion farmers from adverse weather conditions.
The President disclosed that the insurance scheme is being tested in Bungoma, Nakuru and Embu counties. “Indeed, a thousand farmers in these counties have already benefited from the premium subsidy at a cost of Ksh 300 million,” President Kenyatta said on Wednesday.
President Kenyatta said his administration has also introduced a livestock insurance, which is being piloted in Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Tana River at a cost of Ksh152 million. “The results of the two pilot schemes are encouraging; ultimately we intend to roll out these schemes to every county in the country,” the President said.
President Kenyatta made the announcement today when he officially opened this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya Nairobi International Trade Fair at the Jamhuri Park Showground.
To ensure farmers have a regular water supply to increase food crops and livestock production, President Kenyatta said his administration has brought new more land under irrigation and revitalized older schemes. “My Administration has, under the Expanded National Irrigation Program, rehabilitated and expanded national irrigation schemes by 27,000 acres between 2013 and 2015,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “Indeed, in just one of those schemes, at Mwea, we are set to double the area of land under irrigation.” The President said the Government has also taken a raft of other measures to ensure food security including lowering the cost of farm inputs.
He said his Government has distributed 912,920 metric tonnes of subsidized fertilizer to 1.5 million farmers and reduced the average cost of fertilizer by half since 2013. “In 2013, you paid Ksh6,000 for a 50 kg bag of fertilizer; today you are paying Ksh3,000. That is, without a doubt, a real improvement for you, and for Kenya,” President Kenyatta said.
In addition, President Kenyatta said the Government this year commissioned two fertilizer plants in Eldoret and Nakuru that together have a capacity of 500,000 tonnes. The cost of fertilizers will further go down once the two plants are fully operational with the fertilizers tailored to conditions and requirements of the farmers.
As part of the Jubilee Administration’s effort to revitalize coffee production and exports, President Kenyatta said the Government has allowed a debt waiver of Ksh9.5 billion.
The President said his administration has also developed the Kenya Coffee mark of origin to improve the country’s brand visibility. “Equally, we have abolished the 4 per cent ad valorem levy, and established the Commodities Fund, which has supported 100,000 coffee farmers with a total of Ksh2.6 billion,” the President said.
To support dairy farming, President Kenyatta said the Jubilee Government has installed 48 milk coolers nationally for improved milk marketing at a cost of Ksh350 million. “To be clear: it is an investment we have undertaken because we recognize the wonderful work that our dairy farmers are doing,” he said.
Other measures taken to enhance livestock production include setting up a new Ksh400 million artificial insemination station in Kitale and the introduction of oil-based vaccines at a cost of Ksh217 million. These are more potent than the water-based vaccines livestock farmers were using in the past.
To ensure fully exploitation of Kenya’s marine wealth potential, the President affirmed that his administration has put in place a range of programs to revitalise the blue economy including re-flagging an additional fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean.
“Equally, we are in the process of procuring an offshore patrol vessel, at a cost of Ksh3,715 million, to patrol the exclusive economic zone,” President Kenyatta said. In addition, the President pointed out that the Fisheries Management and Development Act 2016 has been enacted.
The law will strengthen the governing of the fisheries industry and help us to stop illegal and unregulated fishing. “As a country, it is estimated that we have been losing revenue every year to the tune of Ksh10 billion,” he noted.
The Government has also restocked Tana River dams, Lake Naivasha and Lake Jipe,leading to an increase of 1,300 metric tonnes of fish caught, President Kenyatta said.
Other speakers included Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Agricultural Society of Kenya National Chairperson Annabella Kiriinya. (PSCU)