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Kenya: Let's Promote Coconut Production - President Kenyatta

Posted on : Friday , 29th August 2014

 Momabsa — President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the formulation of policies that will unlock the country's potential in coconut farming.

 
 

He said commercialization of the coconut sub sector - which is capable of contributing up to Kshs 25 billion annually - would boost the economy of the Coast region.

 
 

"Time and again, research has shown that oil and nut crops have huge potential to contribute to growth in the coastal region" President Kenyatta said.

 
 

The President spoke today at Mombasa Showground when he opened this year's Mombasa International Show.

 
 

He regretted that little of the potential in coconut production has been realized despite its ability to reduce importation of crude edible oils and fats.

 
 

"Mine is to challenge those concerned with formulating policy to put in place immediate measures to unlock the potential in the coconut industry," he said.

 
 

Saying commercialization of agriculture is in line with the country's Vision 2030, the President added that his administration is keen on promoting commercially oriented agriculture through use of modern technology. He disclosed that the Government is working with development partners and the private sector to ensure the country's food security.

 
 

"The reasons for these choices are clear. No country has made major strides in economic development without securing its people's food," he said.

 
 

The President said Kshs 37 billion has been set aside this financial year to improve food production. The funds will go to key flagship projects including irrigation, input subsidies, fisheries management and development of disease-free zones for livestock.

 
 
 

He said the Government has also allocated Kshs 2.6 billion to enhance the Strategic Food Reserve, adding that input subsidies will continue to cushion farmers against high input prices.

 
 

The President said Kshs 3 billion for subsidized fertilizer and seed has been set aside as the Government works with Toyota Tsusho - a private investor - to establish a fertilizer manufacturing plan in the country by 2016.

 
 

Through the Expanded National Irrigation Programme, President Kenyatta said, 54,320 acres of arid and semi-arid land across the country will be put under irrigation.

 
 

"By 2017, we aim to have a million acres under irrigation. This year, Kshs 9.5 billion was allocated to this ends, Kshs 3.5 billion of which will go to the Galana/Kulalu project in Tana River County," the President said.

 
 

To scale up tea production, President Kenyatta said the Government is finalizing the National Tea Industry Policy.

 
 

He said coffee production, which has suffered poor management, price volatility and other challenges will also be streamlined.

 
 

"As an initial step, we have introduced fertilizer subsidies for coffee and streamlined the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE) through the review of the Coffee Trading Rules and appointment of the NCE Committee," the President said.

 
 

The President also outlined steps taken to improve other agricultural sectors including livestock farming which has been allocated Kshs 700 million for restructuring of the Kenya Meat Commission, Kshs. 278 million for establishment of livestock disease-free zones and another Kshs 200 million to the Agricultural Development Corporation.

In the next financial year, President Kenyatta said Bachuma, Miritini and Kurawa Livestock Export Zones will be developed to ensure exploitation of the export beef market.

 
 

To promote fish farming among the youth, the President said the Government has prioritized construction of fishponds in learning institutions and allocated Kshs 122 million this financial year to support aquaculture technology development in the country.

 
 

He said the Deep Sea Research Vessel (R.V. Mtafiti), commissioned early this year, will enhance marine fisheries research capacity and enable the country to expand its venture in the Indian Ocean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). He said plans are also underway to acquire an Offshore Patrol Vessel for surveillance of Kenya's Indian Ocean EEZ.

 
 

"In the 2014/15 financial year, KShs. 800 million has been allocated for this purpose. Another KShs. 192 million will be spent on improving fisheries infrastructure and capacity building," he said.

 
 

The President said the Government is also working out modalities for establishing a revolving financing scheme for local fishers to build a fishing fleet.

 
 
 

He said Kenya's fish enjoys access to international and regional markets, a position the Government intends to maintain.

 
 

"Towards this end, my Government has allocated Kshs. 30 million as a counter fund for the construction of a fish referral laboratory in Nairobi to ensure the highest possible sanitary for our fish and fishery products," he said.

 
 

For the second day in a row, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho - who previously used to skip state functions - accompanied the President at the opening ceremony that was graced by a galaxy of political leaders from the region.

 
 

Other speakers included Agriculture CS Felix Kosgei, Agricultural Society of Kenya National Chair Alice Kalya and Mombasa International Show Chair Anthony Mrima.

Source : allafrica.com

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