President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on farmers in the country to adopt modern farming and livestock production technologies in order to achieve the quality and volumes of production needed to attain national food security, create employment and drive the economy forward.
The President said Kenyans should break away from traditional livestock and agricultural production practices and embrace new appropriate technologies in order to increase their incomes and create jobs for local people.
“A time has come for us to adapt our cultures to the needs of today. Its time to come together and ask ourselves what we need to do to upscale quality n not necessarily quantity of our produce,” said the President.
Speaking today when he graced the Narok County Livestock Show and Auction at Narok Stadium, President Kenyatta said the county had great potential arising from her leading endowment in milk and beef, wheat and barley, maize, potatoes and pyrethrum production.
“Narok is a blessed county. You have cattle, goats, potatoes, tomatoes and pyrethrum. There is nothing that is eaten in Kenya that you don’t have. Above all, Kenya’s tourism rests here,” he said.
He said the agricultural and livestock produce that was displayed at the show was proof that devolution was working.
“This is the first show after nearly 50 years where people can come to witness and learn good farming practices and innovations. This clearly shows that devolved functions are beginning to bear fruit. I urge that this trend takes root and thrives,” said the President.
He challenged livestock farmers to quickly adopt new practices that adapt to the increasing population and shrinking land instead of keeping huge herds that die and masse when droughts strike.
“There is no need for anyone to have 1000 or 2000 cattle but when drought strikes only less that 200 remain that can only fetch Shs 2000 to 3000 because middlemen know they are near worthless.
You should instead keep less numbers that attract huge sums as we have witnessed today. We must adopt new technologies to survive,” said the President.
President Kenyatta urged farmers to bale and store grass for use in times of drought while at the same time practising value addition and storage of dairy products, potatoes, pyrethrum to avoid exploitation by middlemen.
He said the national government has initiated projects to improve productivity and profitability in agriculture at a cost Shs 3 billion.
The President said the national government has partnered with the county government of Narok to avail coolers to dairy farming co-operatives in every ward to ensure they store milk before processing for value addition.
He said his government has also set aside Shs 1.5 billion to establish a tannery in Narok county to process leather and manufacture of leather products as part of supporting grassroots enterprises for employment and wealth creation.
“This show is a good start. This is the true meaning of devolution, to support grassroots enterprise for job creation. My prayer is that after a few years every livestock keeper will have high grade animals as we have seen in the show today,” said President Kenyatta.