Kenya could face food cri­sis if youths don’t take up farm­ing

State, coun­ties warn of a night­mare, as the av­er­age age of farm­ers is 60 against a life ex­pectancy of 63. Sh20 bil­lion to be used in the next five years for youth pro­grammes

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - BRIAN OTIENO @Yo­bramos4

Kenya could face a food short­age night­mare in the near fu­ture if young peo­ple are not ab­sorbed into the agri­cul­ture sec­tor, the na­tional and county gov­ern­ments have warned.

Agri­cul­ture CS Willy Bett and Coun­cil of Gover­nors chair­man Peter Munya yes­ter­day said the two lev­els of gov­ern­ment have to im­prove their co­or­di­na­tion to help more youths to get into agri­cul­ture.

Cur­rently, the av­er­age age of farm­ers in the coun­try is 60 years, against a life ex­pectancy of 63 years, pro­ject­ing a grim fu­ture for food se­cu­rity. “Go­ing by the av­er­age, it means farm­ers have only three years to feed the na­tion be­fore re­tir­ing,” Bett said.

He spoke dur­ing the sec­ond in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal fo­rum on the agri­cul­ture sec­tor at the White­sands Ho­tel, Mom­basa. He said, how­ever, the gov­ern­ment has come up with a pol­icy that will en­cour­age more youths to en­gage in agri­cul­ture.

“We have con­verted agri­cul­ture into a way of pun­ish­ing chil­dren in schools. We have re­placed caning with agri­cul­ture,” he said.

This, he noted, cre­ates a neg­a­tive at­ti­tude and ap­a­thy among the youth.

“The gov­ern­ment has set aside some Sh20 bil­lion to be dis­bursed over the next five years to­wards youth agri­cul­tural pro­grammes. We want agripreneurs,” Bett said.

Munya, who was ac­com­pa­nied by more than 20 gover­nors and deputy gover­nors, said many con­straints be­tween the county and na­tional gov­ern­ments un­der­mine the de­vel­op­ment of the sec­tor.

He said the na­tional gov­ern­ment still holds onto funds and some agri­cul­tural func­tions, yet they were de­volved, a claim Bett de­nied, say­ing, “We don’t have any in­ten­tion to hold onto any agri­cul­tural func­tion.” But Munya in­sisted some paras­tatals have been cre­ated to per­form roles that are the man­date of the coun­ties. “We’ve a prob­lem. The AFFA Act and the Crops Act are still a sub­ject of court cases.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.