- The Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has advised Kenyan farmers to embrace green revolution to counter challenges posed by the soaring food prices and post-electoral violence.
"As Kenya rebuilds following a tumultuous period, there are still many challenges ahead," said Kofi Annan.
"There are lots of internally displaced persons. Many have lost their lands and ability to produce food. Vast areas of the country now experience challenges of getting access to affordable seeds and fertilizers. Unless urgent measures are taken, food insecurity will deepen."
A major partnership agreement, aimed at reviving and developing farming through credit and subside facility of US $50 million, has been signed by the Kenyan government and development partners. AGRA supports the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Kenya’s Equity Bank Limited to change the face of Kenya's agricultural sector.
Kenyan small farmers produce 75% of the nation's food supplies, yet only 30% have access to credit.
But the new programme offers farmers loans of up to Sh100,000 shillings to buy seeds, fertilizers and farming equipment with a 10% interest rate per annum. Rural input shops, fertilizers and seed wholesalers and importers will be among the beneficiaries of the loans.
Many farmers have been frustrated by the high cost of seeds, which was why Kenyan's Ministry of Agriculture has agreed to provide subsidies to the more financially vulnerable farmers to buy seeds and fertilizers.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki was worried about the negative impact of the post-electoral violence on agriculture. He said apart from the destruction of three and half million sacks of maize, thousands of farmers have been forced to abandon their land.
President Kibaki announced an increase in state funds for the development of sugarcane from Sh3.2 billion shillings to Sh4 billion. Coffee subsidies will rise from Sh750 million shillings to Sh2 billion.
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