KENYA, KBC Kenya Broadcasting Corporation - Nairobi, Oct 12, 2008
The Government is addressing food security through the promotion of orphan crops such as sweet potatoes, cassava, sorghum, cowpeas and millet during this financial year at a cost of Ksh 200million, Agriculture Minister, William Ruto has disclosed. Ruto added that a crop such as cassava's value addition will include human food, animal feed, and pharmaceutical industries in the near future after its production has increased. He was speaking during this year's Migori District Agriculture Show, in a speech read on his behalf by a Deputy Director in the ministry, Zakayo Mekenya Magara, in Migori town.
Minister Ruto said farmers in the district have so far received seven tons of orphan crops' seeds of sorghum, green grams, and beans through KARI.
He advised farmers to use proper crop husbandry practices in order to increase production of the crops, and feed the ever-increasing population in the region.
In the fishing sector, the Minister said a fish processing factory in Migori exported 1.5kgs. of processed fish valued at Ksh.353million to Hong Kong, Portugal, Netherlands and Israel last year.
There is still room, however, for further exploitation of all the fishing potential through adoption of the latest fishing technologies in fish production, management of fisheries resources, fish feed and formulation, stocking of ponds and fish harvesting'', said mr. Ruto.
Commending in the livestock sector, Minister Ruto said the district produced 852,000kgs. of meat valued at Ksh.144million, while milk production remained fairly constant.
In his address, the Deputy Director, Mr. Magara expressed concern at the low response by farmers' towards acquisition of credit facilities from financial institutions from the region in the improvement of their cash and food crops.
He disclosed that only seven enterprises with a membership of 487 benefited from AFC Seasonal credit loans. The enterprises financed the dairy and fishing industry.
He assured farmers that the government will continue to strengthen the private/public patnerships in their efforts to improve agriculture.
Migori Member of Parliament John Pesa asked farmers to take advantage of the government credit facilities at their disposal to improve their farming techniques.