By Rodgers Omondi
To motivate local farmers to embrace the benefits of technological advancements, the Kenyan government is actively encouraging farmers to enroll in the Kenya Integrated Agriculture Management Information System (KIAMIS).
Speaking at a meeting in Nairobi, Principal Secretary (PS) in the State Department for Crop Development, Harsama Kello, made the call aimed at bringing together the agricultural value chain actors. The function was organized by the National Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP).
During the press release, the PS iterated the need for a having a centralized platform for local framers, noting that the system can potentially identify Individual County’s potential and enhance the distribution of agricultural resources and subsidies simultaneously.
“Through the KIAMIS system, it is now easier to identify each region’s potential and put resources into productive projects,” said the PS, adding that food production in the country will increase significantly if the system successfully captures all the farmers’ data in a centralized data management system.
Further, Kelllo noted other areas that would benefit from the move, including cooperative planning, investor collaboration, marketing and extension services, and farmer education.
Notably, the national government through the ministry of Agriculture has recently put in measures to enhance food security. Such projects include the tax relief on farm fertilizers, a move that the government said is an implementation the four major value chains: staple foods, dairy, livestock, and horticulture.
In relation to horticulture, PS Harsama reminded farmers that the country has plans to initiate a sunflower farming project in over 200,000 acres of local land, stating that plans to procure seeds are already underway. Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture has embarked on an ambitious plan to turn over 500,000 acres of idle public land into food production zones as the government tightens its stance on the food security agenda.
According to Harsama, the move is geared towards curbing the perennial shortage of maize and avoiding the importation bottlenecks witnessed in the global maize market. Maize is the number one staple food for a majority of Kenyans, and a decrease in the production of this commodity may mean the difference between food security and starvation among many households.
In Taita Taveta County, the local administration is head over heels on revamping the country’s food security after it suffered low yields in the previous financial year. Taita Taveta County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Irrigation, Mr. Erickson Kyongo, said that the administration has made bold steps in supporting food production, value addition, and market chains. “Multiple plans are currently in motion to revamp food production and value-added chains,” he said, speaking at the National Value Chain Development Project event held in Nairobi.
While addressing the county’s preparedness for the five-year NAVCDP life cycle, Kyongo said, “We’ve got a clear roadmap of what we need to do as part of the food security agenda, and we count on the support of the national government, NGOs, and private players to achieve these ambitious goals.”
According to the county executive, part of the its strategic plan is to increase milk production from the current 20 million liters to 30 million liters annually, boost rice production from 4644 tonnes to 12,000 tonnes , and complete the Taveta banana factory.
Dairy, rice, banana, livestock, and poultry production, which have witnessed an increase in resource allocation from the national government through the devolved unit budget, and support from non-governmental organizations, are the vital sub-sectors leading the new agricultural realizations.