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Kenya to spend 10 per cent of budget on agricultureFriday, October 03, 2014 > 09:17:40
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya is on course to allocating 10 per cent of its national budget to agriculture, as stipulated in the Maputo Declaration. Uhuru, noting that this financial year the Agriculture ministry received Sh37 billion out of the Sh1.8 trillion budget, said allocation will rise progressively year by year.
"We have chosen an ambitious path. And ambitious costs. The funds set aside will pay for key projects in irrigation, subsidise inputs, develop fisheries and pay for the establishment of disease-free zones for livestock development," noted the President. The Head of State was speaking during the official opening of the 2014 Agricultural Society of Kenya Nairobi International Trade Fair at the Jamhuri Park showground in Nairobi. At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African heads of state and government endorsed the "Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa". The declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the "commitment to the allocation of at least 10 per cent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years."
Wednesday, the President promised that there will be strict new standards of accountability with more funding in agriculture. "Those, especially public servants, who fail to observe these new criteria will find that my Government has a stern side. With new money comes new responsibility," he stated. Uhuru expressed concern that agriculture employs nearly three-quarters of Kenyans, yet half of the country's production remains at subsistence level.
"Our towns and cities are fed by rural farmers whose labour is not rewarded as it should be. And as the last year has reminded us, the nation's food supply is not yet fully secure," he added. Present at the function were Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei, Nairobi International Trade Fair Chairperson Minne Njage and her Agricultural Society of Kenya counterpart Alice Kalya.
There are a total of 476 exhibitors, 433 local and 43 international, at this year's event. Kidero said Kenya must change the way it does agriculture now that it is a middle-level income country. "We must embrace innovation, promote youth enterprises, promote trade and give investors incentives," he added. Koskei said his ministry is promoting farm modernisation and working on ways to reduce over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture. Uhuru added that Kenya is rich in fertile land, ingenuity and energy of the people, but citizens don't do much with these gifts. He said his Government is working tow