Columnists

Greater access to agri-tech offers Kenya an opportunity to scale up production

A tea plucking machine in operation at a tea estate in Kericho county.

A tea plucking machine in operation at a tea estate in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NMG

Agriculture plays a pivotal role in Kenya’s economic agenda, contributing significantly to employment, food security, and economic growth.

It’s a key pillar in the government’s Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA), which promises to unleash the potential of agricultural value chains to fuel prosperity and improve the living standards of Kenyans.

Kenya's Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS), 2019-2029 outlines the government’s commitment to agricultural reforms and presents plans to drive agricultural transformation and boost food security.

Under these government blueprints, some two million poor farmers will be helped to become producers of surplus goods by making available to them affordable inputs, intensive agricultural extension support and linkages to markets.

This will strengthen food and nutrition security, reduce imports of basic foods, and increase exports.

These noble goals captured in our national government strategies are also shared aspirations by most African countries and therefore we believe that sharing experiences and knowledge will go a long way to strengthening our joint commitments for agricultural transformation.

As part of our regional leadership commitment to transforming agriculture, the government will host the inaugural African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) in partnership with AATF in Nairobi between October 30 and November 3 this year.

This forum will provide a platform to discuss actionable solutions to the challenges facing the agricultural sector in Kenya and Africa at large with special attention to the role that agricultural technologies can play in transforming food systems.

The conference will bring together government representatives, industry thought leaders, policymakers, technical experts, private institutions, farmers, women, and young people from across the globe to discuss and define practical actions and solutions to the challenges of technology access and use in agriculture.

A vibrant, modern, and commercial agricultural sector depends a lot on the scale of harnessing technologies that work and providing supportive environments for use at scale.

The author is the Principal Secretary, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, State Department for Crop Development.