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Counties may have to move people into settlement areas to free up land for farming

Agriculture CS Felix Kosgei. Counties may have to move people into settlement areas to free up land for farming, if a draft agriculture policy is adopted.

Agriculture CS Felix Kosgei. Counties may have to move people into settlement areas to free up land for farming, if a draft agriculture policy is adopted.

Counties may have to move people into settlement areas to free up land for farming, if a draft agriculture policy is adopted.

The policy prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture seeks to deal with the country’s inability to produce enough food.

The food shortage has been attributed to lack of land, drought, lack of market for produce and poor infrastructure. The draft policy will be subjected to public hearings in all the counties, before it can be made law.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei says in an advert that the new policy would offer “a basis for strategies, plans, projects and programmes for the country’s agricultural development”.

Some of the measures it proposes are improving food production through the setting aside of zones for agriculture and fisheries, diversifying food crops and encouraging farmers to store at least 10 per cent of their harvest.

Others are to encourage people to set aside space for settlement and free up the rest of the land for farming, fisheries and livestock production.

Over 90 per cent of agriculture in the country relies on rainfall, and weather shocks such as drought often lead to massive losses.

Therefore, the policy proposes ways of dealing with climate change such as creating early warning systems and boosting irrigation.

It also seeks to expand market access for farmers and ensure availability of quality seeds and inputs.

RESEARCH AND EXTENSION

Other proposals include investing in research and extension services and improving funding for agriculture to at least 10 per cent.

Reforming agricultural institutions, improving information and data management and training of farmers are among the proposals.

The ministry also hopes to secure a pledge from national and county governments and private firms to ensure farmers get insurance against losses.

These measures will require the input of national government and counties.

Nation.co.ke

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