Deputy President William Ruto has asked the governors of counties in Kenya to allocate more resources towards mechanization of the agricultural sector so as to increase productivity and quality of farm products.

The only way to make agriculture profitable and attract the youth to the sector is through mechanization and modernization, he said here Thursday, noting that improved quality of agricultural products would make the country competitive in the international market.

“I have seen many county governments across the country have invested heavily on mechanization, I want to tell them that is the way to go,” he said during a consultative meeting with the governors and Members of Parliament on modernization of the agricultural sector at the Kenya School of Government here.

“It is not possible to transform this nation unless we transform the agricultural sector through modernization,” the Deputy President said.

Key stakeholders present at the meeting included Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Agriculture Willy Bett, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and county government agriculture executives.

Ruto also urged the Governors to invest in value addition of agricultural products, especially those which are highly perishable, as this could help increase the quality of local products.

“I want to encourage our counties to focus on value addition of all our products,” he said.

Ruto said the national government would support the counties in implementing the mechanization programme. “We want to enhance the capacity of agriculture mechanization services, we want to have more tractors available to farmers to hire whenever they want to prepare the land,” he said.

The government was also considering a programme where farmers can buy tractors on a long-term lease or subsidizing the cost of tractors to make them accessible to farmers so that they can adopt mechanization, Ruto said.

“We will not be able to export agricultural products if we continue to use oxen to plough land,” he added.

Under the new national Constitution agriculture was a function devolved to the county level of government so that management of agriculture is closer to citizens. “Agriculture was devolved because it was so important that it had to be managed closest to the grassroots,” Ruto said.

Source: Nam News Network