M a r k e t N e w s

Farmers to be cushioned with crop, livestock insurance - Uhuru

Posted on : Thursday, 6th October 2016

 President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday said the government has introduced a crop insurance scheme to cushion farmers from adverse weather conditions.

Uhuru said the insurance scheme is being tested in Bungoma, Nakuru and Embu counties.
“Indeed, a thousand farmers in these counties have already benefitted from the premium subsidy at a cost of Sh300 million,” he said.
He said his administration has also introduced livestock insurance, which is being piloted in Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo and Tana River at a cost of Sh152 million.
“The results of the two pilot schemes are encouraging; ultimately we intend to roll out these schemes to every county in the country."
Uhuru made the announcement when he officially opened this year’s Agricultural Society of Kenya Nairobi International Trade Fair at the Jamhuri Park Showground.
To ensure farmers have a regular water supply to increase food crops and livestock production, the President said his administration has brought new more land under irrigation and revitalised older schemes.
“My administration has, under the Expanded National Irrigation Program, rehabilitated and expanded national irrigation schemes by 27,000 acres between 2013 and 2015,” he said.
He added: “Indeed, in just one of those schemes, at Mwea, we are set to double the area of land under irrigation.”
The President said the government has also taken a raft of other measures to ensure food security including lowering the cost of farm inputs.
He said his government has distributed 912,920 metric tonnes of subsidized fertiliser to 1.5 million farmers and reduced the average cost of fertiliser by half since 2013.
“In 2013, you paid Sh6,000 for a 50 kg bag of fertilizer; today you are paying Sh3,000. That is, without a doubt, a real improvement for you, and for Kenya,” Uhuru said.
In addition, Uhuru said the government this year commissioned two fertiliser plants in Eldoret and Nakuru that together have a capacity of 500,000 tonnes.
The cost of fertilisers will further go down once the two plants are fully operational with the fertilisers tailored to conditions and requirements of the farmers.
As part of the Jubilee Administration’s effort to revitalize coffee production and exports, the President said the Government has allowed a debt waiver of Sh9.5 billion.
He said his administration has also developed the Kenya Coffee mark of origin to improve the country’s brand visibility.
“Equally, we have abolished the 4 per cent ad valorem levy, and established the Commodities Fund, which has supported 100,000 coffee farmers with a total of Sh2.6 billion,” the President said.
To support dairy farming, Uhuru said the Jubilee Government has installed 48 milk coolers nationally for improved milk marketing at a cost of Sh350 million.
“To be clear: it is an investment we have undertaken because we recognize the wonderful work that our dairy farmers are doing,” he said.
Other measures taken to enhance livestock production include setting up a new Sh400 million artificial insemination station in Kitale and the introduction of oil-based vaccines at a cost of Sh217 million.
These are more potent than the water-based vaccines livestock farmers were using in the past.
To ensure fully exploitation of Kenya’s marine wealth potential, the President affirmed that his administration has put in place a range of programs to revitalise the blue economy including reflagging an additional fishing vessel in the Indian Ocean.
“Equally, we are in the process of procuring an offshore patrol vessel, at a cost of Sh3,715 million, to patrol the exclusive economic zone,” Uhuru said.
In addition, the President pointed out that the Fisheries Management and Development Act 2016 has been enacted.
The law will strengthen the governing of the fisheries industry and help us to stop illegal and unregulated fishing.
“As a country, it is estimated that we have been losing revenue every year to the tune of Sh10 billion,” he noted.
He said the government has also restocked Tana River dams, Lake Naivasha and Lake Jipe, leading to an increase of 1,300 metric tonnes of fish caught.
Other speakers included Agriculture CS Willy Bett, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Agricultural Society of Kenya National Chairperson Annabella Kiriinya.

Source : www.the-star.co.ke
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