Roads Transport and Public Works Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has pledged to complete all pending roads as a way of supporting players in the agriculture sector to access local markets.
According to the CS, a total of 1,000 kilometers of roads are currently under construction with 469 kilometers being constructed by the Kenya Rural Roads Authority while the construction of the bulk of the remaining 531 kilometers is being undertaken by the Kenya National Highways Authority with a view of facilitating the movement of farm produce to markets as well as managing the cost of transport for framers.
‘It will be unfair for me to speak about only agriculture without speaking about the connection between agriculture and the market which is the responsibility of my ministry,’ said the CS.
‘We have over 1,000 kilometers of roads that are under construction in this country. We are doing everything possible to ensure that we have raised the necessary revenue that can enable us to complete this infrastructure. We will do everything possible to ensure that our farmers are not stuck when they are taking their produce to the market,’ added Murkomen.
The transport CS was speaking at Kabiru-ini showground in Nyeri when he officially opened the 55th edition of the Central Kenya National Show on behalf of the head of state, Dr. William Ruto. Accompanying Murkomen was the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Crop Development, Kello Harsma, Nyeri Deputy Governor, Warui Kinaniri, Agriculture Society of Kenya national chairperson, Pamela Kirinya, Central Kenya ASK show chairman, Patrick Munuhe among a host of other dignitaries.
This year’s annual agricultural fair which is themed Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture and Trade Initiatives for Sustainable Economic Growth has attracted close to 170 exhibitors from agriculture, manufacturing, housing, Small and Medium Enterprises, banking, hospitality, and education sectors.
In a speech read on his behalf by the transport CS, President Ruto promised to revitalize the sector in a bid to increase productivity and increase incomes for farmers.
According to the head of state, his agriculture revitalization plan will revolve around reducing the cost of production, investing in technologies to help farmers mitigate the effects of climate change, and investing in value addition.
Among the plans in the pipeline is the establishment of a Sh. 400 million semen plant which President Ruto stated will increase production in the dairy sub-sector.
The government has also identified edible oil, rice, coffee, beef, leather, and dairy sub-sectors for value addition and marketing.
He said that the state is working to reduce the country’s overreliance on the importation of food commodities by increasing local production.
‘We would like to reduce the importation of rice which currently costs Shs. 34 billion annually by expanding our current rice production in Mwea, Ahero as well as establishing other rice production fields. We are working on reducing the importation of edible oils which cost up to Sh 100 billion annually. We plan to achieve this by investing in the cultivation of palm oil, sunflower, canola, and soya bean,’ stated Dr Ruto.
On the climate-smart agriculture front, the President said that the government will incorporate smart technologies that are resilient to changes in weather patterns in addition to investing in irrigation-fed food production by actualizing the government’s plan to build 100 mega dams in the country to support irrigation-fed agriculture.
Additionally, he said there are plans to increase the total acreage of land under irrigation by 5,000 acres by the year 2026 to boost food security.
Source: Kenya News Agency