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Raise agriculture budget or perish, Senators warn

Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has called for increased budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector to save Kenya’s key cash crops that members say are on the brink of collapse.

Chairman Kiraitu Murungi said there is need to heavily subsidise, modernise and mechanise agriculture for sustainability of the sector.

Kiraitu, who was speaking yesterday in Mombasa during a retreat to discuss Agriculture Ministry’s policies by the Senate committee, said farming had lost its glory and that few farmers are interested in coffee, tea, sugar or maize because there is no ready market.

“Our country faces challenges such as unemployment. Agriculture, livestock and fisheries can play a major role in alleviating this problem,” he said, adding that the traditional rain-fed subsistence farming model of agriculture is not in tandem with Vision 2030 aspirations.

His words were reiterated by Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro who called for diversification in Kenyans’ feeding habits following rapid population growth and thus increased demand for food.

“Kenya is endowed with both natural fish from rivers, lakes and Indian Ocean as well as a big potential for fish farming. Kenya’s fisheries sub-sector has the potential of significantly contributing to the national economy and supporting food nutrition security,” he said.

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