Sunday 20 April 2014

Flagging off of Traditional High Value Crops

It is my pleasure to flag off these drought tolerant, early maturing and high yielding seeds for distribution to farmers for planting during the 2012 short rains season. We have been advised by the Department of Meteorology that the short rains will be adequate. The main role of the Ministry of Agriculture is to ensure food security for all Kenyans.
In order to achieve this, we have been training farmers to adopt modern technologies for food production and to ensure that they adapt to the changing climatic conditions by producing the Traditional High Value Crops.

Traditional food crops such sorghum, millet, sweet potatoes, cassava, pigeon peas, cowpeas, green grams and dolichos have been pivotal in ensuring self-sufficiency in food despite being outside the bracket of other more recognized crops in the agricultural system.


These crops have been neglected for a long time with little support for their research and development. Other factor which have caused decline in production of these crops include ;low interest by Seed Companies to multiply the seeds due to low demand, low investment on research and extension to develop and promote superior varieties, emergence of pests and diseases, limited knowledge on utilization and agro-processing to add value and improve marketability.

 

The attitude towards these crops is changing rapidly with the realization that they enormous potential of ensuring food security to millions of Kenyans those living in arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) that are characterized by recurrent droughts, poor soils and general lack of resources for meaningful agricultural production. These crops have also been recognized as important in adapting to climatic change.

While good quality seeds and fertilizer are major inputs in crop production, a majority of people who live in rural areas are poor and plant poor quality seeds. While both the formal and informal seed systems exist in Kenya, evidence shows that a vast majority of farmers rely on the informal seed system and often continue to recycle seed that have declined in quality through generations of cultivation. Use of poor quality seeds leads to low yields, food insecurity, poor nutrition and low household incomes.

The Traditional High Value Crops (THVC) Programme was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2006/2007 to improve access to quality seeds through community seed multiplication.

Since inception the project has distributed a total of 5096 MT of assorted drought tolerant food crop seeds, 13,515,379 sweet potato vines, and 14,512,110 cassava cuttings all valued at 1.35billion reaching 2,410,416 beneficiaries in various Districts over the years. Today, I am flagging off, a total of 107MT which is part of 330MT assorted drought tolerant food crop seeds, 11,632,625 cassava cuttings and sweet potato vines all worth Ksh.65million which will be distributed to farmers in six province this season.
Over the implementation period, there has been a change in the attitude towards these crops and this has led to availability of drought tolerant and high status seed adaptable to harsh weather conditions nearer to the farmers, improved livelihoods, improved nutritional status in family members, improved incomes and improved living standards for farmers in the ASAL Districts.

The materials to be distributed:

Province

District

Assorted Food crops(MT)

Cuttings/

Vines

Value(Ksh)

Western

8

38.75

2,062,500

8,163,750

Nyanza

10

68.75

5,400,000

25,790,000

Central

8

26.6

795,000

5,070,500

Eastern

29

167

1,849,875

19,633,834

Coast

4

15

1,500,145

4,769,645

Rift Valley

3

10.5

25,105

1,737,605

Total

 62

330

11,632,625

65,165,334

 ยงSupport to traditional high value crops project.2006 - 2012

Year

No. of districts

Cost of the Project

Institution

2006/2007

71

150M

MOA

2007/2008

63

150M

MOA

2008/2009

71

150M

MOA

2009/2010

53

150M

MOA

2010/2011

101

451M

MOA/EU/ WORLD BANK

2011/2012

101

150M

MOA

2012/2013

117

150M

MOA

Total

1,351,000,000

MOA

In addition to these seeds, the Ministry of Agriculture has delivered 290MT of bean seeds worth Ksh60 million to National Cereal Board Depots (NCPB) in districts which were most affected by the Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease. These seeds are being sold to farmers at a highly subsidized price of Ksh.200 per 2 Kg packet. The accruing revenue will be used to purchase more seeds for farmers. The ministry is currently working on a programme to up scale the seed subsidy programme to other parts of the country.
The Ministry has also signed a memorandum of understanding with KARI to produce Ground nuts, Cashew Nuts and Coconut seeds and seedlings for distribution to farmers in the long rains of 2013.

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the stakeholders such as European Union and World Bank who have supported this noble programme in one way or another since its inception and KARI for bulking the seeds. We look forward to more collaboration in improving food security for our citizens.

Lastly, I would like to ask farmers to take advantage of the forecasted enhanced rains in the coming short rains season to increase food production.

 
     

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