- Kenyan government has today committed 8 percent of national budget next year to boost agriculture industry and to increase food production.
With some of funding expected to well from international finacing intitutions, Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki said east African nation's increase of its budgetary allocation to agriculture is aimed at transforming sector into a commercially viable business and make Kenya the grain basket for region.
Mr Kibaki, though he did not specify how much money will be put on agriculture sector, said allocation will be raised from 4.5 percent.
"We have the potential to become the grain basket for this region and beyond. Our farmers are capable of doubling productivity so that we have food security for our people and a surplus for export," Mr Kibaki told conference in Nairobi.
He also noted need to boost small-holder farmers and cooperatives to expand their income base, while at same time adding value to their products to meet competitive market demands.
Mr Kibaki also urged farmers to adopt and embrace modern technology to improve production, saying government was always prepared to step in with help. He added that with increased production, low income earners would be able to meet challenges of hiking food and commodity prices.
He disclosed that with support from international and regional institutions, Kenya will invest 4.3 billion shillings (about 56 million U.S. dollars) over next five years to develop small-scale irrigation projects and marketing infrastructure for crops, further urging all farmers to take advantage of this investment and grow more high-value crops such as flowers, soya beans, French beans, fruits, herbs and spices for sale at regional and international markets.
He said Kenyan government together with IFAD had already established eight small irrigation projects covering a total of 397 hectares.
Some 3.5 million people in Kenya are currently said to be in need of food aid, to which Kenyan authorities feel it is an embarassment looking at country's potential.
According to Kenya's Agriculture minister, William Ruto, country's economy largely depends on agriculture, and there was need to shift priorities and "invest in the sector which has the goose that lays the golden eggs," adding opportunity was there to move Kenya into next level.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.