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Kenya to host food security forum on Monday



FOOD SECURITY – Kenya will on Monday host a forum on innovative strategies to achieve the country’s development blueprint on food security, organisers said on Friday.

The forum, hosted by the ministry of agriculture in conjunction with the country’s investors’ lobby, will be attended by participants from seven African countries.

The organisers said policy makers, industry executives, representatives of multilateral lenders would attend the event slated for Nov. 19 and Nov. 20, to explore new ways to revitalise the food and nutrition security agenda in the east Africa’s largest economy.

The conference, with the theme: “Stimulating Agricultural Productivity in order to Boost Food and Nutrition Security”, will discuss Big Four’s food security agenda and investment prospects, according to organisers.

It will also discuss what needs to be done to boost economic growth.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has identified food security as part of his Big Four agenda aimed at transforming the country before the expiry of his second and final term in office in 2022.

Kenyatta has appealed to local and foreign investors to support the food security agenda by channelling capital to high impact interventions such as irrigated farming and agro-processing.

“Delegates will share their experiences, present research results, explore collaborations and spark new ideas with the aim of developing new projects and exploiting new technology for food security,” said the organisers.

According to the agriculture ministry, business leaders, state officials, economists and academics will deliver keynote speeches and engage in panel discussions.

The ministry said that they would also explore models that could be adopted to help the country to overcome endemic hunger, malnutrition and stunting.

“The conference will, therefore, examine what needs to be done to build a more dynamic economy in which agriculture drives the manufacturing agenda which, in turn, can ensure enough and affordable food,” the organisers said.

However, Kenya has developed the necessary policies to support a proper framework to increase food production in the country, Deputy President William Ruto said.

Ruto said that putting more land under irrigation would help to alleviate food shortage in the country, adding that, for any nation to improve the nutrition status of its people, it must ensure food security.

Initiative for Food and Nutrition in Africa (IFNA) was launched to accelerate international efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition on the African continent.

Welcoming the IFNA initiative for Africa, the deputy president said agriculture and rural development were key to achievement of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and a solution to malnutrition.

Ruto said mechanisation and irrigation were key to improving food production, noting that Kenya had enhanced budgetary allocation to agricultural sector to meet demands of food production.

Ruto said chronic food and nutrition security remains a great national human and economic development challenge for many African countries.

According to him, Kenya is endowed with natural resources to the extent that it has the capacity to be Africa’s breadbasket.

He gave the assurance that the government was prioritising the development of agriculture by adapting irrigation.

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