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Kenya inks pact with Ireland to boost dairy, fisheries production

Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohamed (left) and her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney unveil a plaque to mark the formal opening of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi on Nov 8. photo | kanyiri wahito
Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohamed (left) and her Irish counterpart Simon Coveney unveil a plaque to mark the formal opening of the Irish Embassy in Nairobi on Nov 8. photo | kanyiri wahito 

Kenya and Ireland have entered into a five- year agreement to boost food security in the country with focus on dairy and fisheries sectors.

The partnership, which has been dubbed Ireland Kenya Agri-Food Strategy 2017-2021 will see local farmers benefit from use of modern technology in farming to increase their productivity.

Irish Foreign and Trade minister Simon Coveney said the memorandum of organisation signed Wednesday will see companies from Ireland invest in Kenya and initiate transfer of skills from the European state to the local economy.

“Our objectives are to increase Ireland-Kenya trade value in agri-food by 100 per cent, strengthen defined policies, institutions and businesses in support of the food sector in Kenya,” said Mr Coveney.

“We are also targeting to increasing farmers income in at a least two counties through support for value chains in Irish potato,” he added.
The focus of dairy and fisheries will further diversify Kenya’s agro export business that is dominated by tea, horticulture and coffee—which last year accounted for Sh242 billion of the country’s Sh578 billion export business.

Kenya’s dairy industry has been undergoing transformation over the years, but milk production from farms has remained low as well as exports of farm products, especially butter and cheese.

For instance with Kenya’s 4.2 million cows, it only produces 5.2 billion litres of milk annually against Ireland’s production of 6.4 billion litres from a herd of 1.4 million.

Lack of fishing gear has also dimmed Kenya’s fisheries. Last year Kenya produced fish worth Sh18 billion.

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