Nicholas Waitathu @zachuodho
US will fund the agriculture sector in Kenya in the current financial year to the tune of $40 million (Sh4 billion).
United States Agency for International Development (USAid) Deputy Mission Director Heather Schildge lauded Kenya government’s ongoing efforts to transform the agriculture sector to produce more to feed the increasing population.
Kenya, she said will benefit from the funding to actualise the food security and nutrition component of the Big Four agenda. “For the last five years US government has supported the agriculture sector in Kenya to the tune of Sh22.5 billion. She made the remarks during the opening the 2nd National Agri-Nutrition Conference at Kenya School of Government sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation among other organisations.
During the meeting Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri launched three documents –agri-nutrition dialogue cards, food composition table, recipe book and national dietary guidelines and physical activity. He said the ministry has started the maize flour blending initiative to enhance nutrition and create market for the crops used in blending.
“This will go a long way in increasing dietary diversity of Kenyans and contribute to increased micronutrient intake besides many other benefits,” said Kiunjuri.
Producing food and getting incomes from agricultural produce Kiunjuri said does not automatically translate to improved nutrition outcomes. “Creating a nutritional food system requires the efforts of all players to achieve the desired goal of optimal nutrition for all. It will therefore be desirable that we get involved in concerted efforts to educate and empower Kenyans to choose a healthy and balanced diet,” he added.
Dr Romano Kiome, Chief of Party under the USAid Feed the Future Programme stressed on the need by the value chain players to deal with malnutrition.