Kenya is committed to facilitate adoption of new technologies and innovations to transform the agricultural sector and enhance productivity and capacity to feed the increasing population in the country, President Dr William Ruto said the government was keen to promote agriculture productivity as it offered one of the quickest payback periods for investments and had the great potential to generate higher returns and create employment opportunities. In a speech read on his behalf by Agriculture and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi during the opening session of the African conference on agricultural technologies (ACAT), the Head of State said there was need to unlock the potentials of the sector through transformative technologies and innovations He said t it was critical to embrace new technology and innovations and this will not only be done through focusing on the technologies but will be encompassed with strategies to eliminate the barriers to technology development and transfer. ‘The current low productivity characterizing Kenya’s agricultural sector, and that of Africa can be transformed through the adoption of new technologies and innovations. These are essential for offering Africa resilience and global competitiveness. In pursuit of agricultural transformation, President Ruto said that the government is implementing a comprehensive blueprint, the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS 2019-2029). ‘This blueprint represents our unwavering commitment to reforming the sector by increasing output and productivity, boosting incomes, and, most importantly, ensuring the resilience and food security of Kenyan households,’ he said He acknowledged the effective application of science, technology and innovations in agriculture as a powerful tool to achieve two goals of improving productivity across value chains while at the same time building resilience to the effects of climate change. ‘There are remarkable innovations that can help farmers address the challenges of drought and pests through drought-tolerant and pest-resistant crops,’ he added. Kenya Government the President confirmed is committed to creating an enabling environment to advance the utilization of science, technology, and innovation to address agricultural challenges and ensure food and nutrition security. From left, Former President of the Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Kenya Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi, Crops PS Paul Ronoh and Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director, AATF This ensures that researchers, scientists, and farmers can develop and utilize advancements in agriculture for improved livelihoods. The Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan who graced the event said innovation is the bedrock of all evolutionary transformative change and therefore Africa must rapidly evolve by embracing innovation to foster resilience in its agricultural endeavours. He reiterated that innovation in agriculture is not optional but is necessary saying the world’s population is growing and with it is the demand for food. Climate change he said poses threats to the continents traditional agricultural practices and therefore there is need for innovations that will ensure continuous producing what we like in good volumes by making production systems more efficient, sustainable and climate smart. The former President said innovative technologies can bridge the current production gap and help the continent to fast-track the attainment of Self-sufficiency in food production. ‘Innovation must be part of our resolute course to re-shaping our agricultural outlook that should help our farmers to ably adopt new approaches to effectively withstand or overcome the myriad of challenges that currently bedevils the sector’, he added. He continued ‘It is being creative and innovative that we as a people and continent can bestow on ourselves a well secure food, nutrition and economic prosperity. Let us reflect on what this means ‘, he said Dr. Jonathan said the 5 day ACAT conference serves as a launch pad for new ideas, collaborations, good discourse and partnerships that will propel Africa to the forefront of agricultural innovations and resilience, ‘ Together we can create a brighter and more food and nutrition secure future for the generations to come’. African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) Executive Director Canisius Kanangire acknowledged Kenya’s dedication to an admirable goal-the eradication of poverty and hunger from the face of our planet by2030, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ‘We recognize that this aspiration can only be fulfilled by incorporating science, technology, and innovation into our national development plans and investment decisions’, Dr. Kanangire said. The Foundation whose headquarter is in Kenya has facilitated access to innovative agricultural technologies worth over USD650 million during its 20years in operation, benefiting4.8million smallholder farmers in 24countries including Kenya. This week’s conference running under the theme ‘ Agricultural Resilience through Innovation’, takes place at a time when most countries in Africa are grappling with the challenge of feeding a growing population, estimated to grow well over 1.4 billion by 2030.
Source: Kenya News Agency