Food security top on Jubilee agenda

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government has promised to construct 57 dams, buy half of its food requirements from small scale farmers and improve forest cover from seven to 10 per cent in a bold food security plan, if re-elected.

The Jubilee team is also promising to put under irrigation at least one million acres in the next five years.

“We will complete the 57-large-scale dam construction programme, support small-holder agricultural drip irrigation and work with the private sector to enhance commercial agricultural production on at least 1.2 million acres,” the party promises in its manifesto launched yesterday.

The Jubilee team has promised to partner with county governments to establish at least one agricultural produce market that they say will provide a central outlet for agricultural produce where farmers can sell directly rather than through middle men.

‘We will enhance the one-county-one-product initiative to facilitate better post-harvest management of food through food storage facilities, cold rooms and transport and distribution networks across the county,” the party said.

COST OF LIVING

The Jubilee Party has also promised to create a Food Acquisition Programme, which they said will mandate the government to buy 50 per cent of its food requirements from small holder farmers.

“We will, in five years, double the fertiliser subsidy initiative, reducing the cost to farmers to less than Ksh1,500 expand the programme to include all crops with a resultant increase in production; support the expansion and capacity of local fertiliser manufacture,” the Jubilee manifesto reads.

The government is also planning to reduce the cost of living and high cost of food in the short-term, a promise that the opposition National Super Alliance under Raila Odinga has run away with, promising changes in cost of living within 100 days of its time in office, if elected on August 8.

The ruling party is now facing an avalanche of accusations following a shortage of maize, and even more acute shortage of a subsidized Sh90-per two kilogram of unga.

FISH MARKET

Agriculture- and food security- will be a critical part of the party manifestos, a sector that contributes approximately 27 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, and 40 per cent of the total government revenue, and 60 per cent of the country’s exports.

Close to 80 per cent of the population in Kenya relies on agriculture, directly or indirectly, for employment and livelihood, the party said in its assessment of the sector.

“We will transform the strategic grain reserve into a strategic food reserve to include other food stuffs such as sorghum, millet, beans, peas, milk powder and canned beef,” Jubilee promises in its manifesto.

In its five years in power, the administration said, it had constructed 18 fish market, 39 horticultural markets, 18 livestock sale yards, while securing European Union certification for farmed fish.

“We have expanded acreage under irrigation from 354,775 acres in 2013 to 483,670 acres in 2017 including a 4,000 acre pilot project in Galana Kulalu, a Food Security Project which has 2,000 acres cropped with maize,” the party said.

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