Kenyan Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Willy Bett says the country is food secure as the various food production measures put in place by the government are adequate to ensure this.

Speaking at the State House Agriculture Summit here Monday, he added that the government was also focusing on reducing the cost of food production by, among other measures, subsidizing farm inputs, making available credit as well as helping farmers diversify to other crops besides maize.

Agriculture has been one of the drivers of the country’s economy, contributing about 30 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) but many farmers have decried the high cost of production which has resulted in the high price of food in the market.

Bett noted that the government had been providing various incentives to farmers, including subsidized fertilizer and seeds to help reduce the cost of production.

However, while the government is keen to encourage more youth to engage in farming, funding for the agriculture sector has been low mainly because of the requirement for collateral imposed by most financial institutions.

Bett said that the government, through its Youth Fund, would address this.

Meanwhile, Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said Kenya had been investing in irrigation projects and although there had been delays in implementation of some major projects such as the Galana Irrigation Scheme, currently there are 483,000 acres under irrigation in the various schemes across the country, a figure that is expected to double to 1.2 million acres.

Farmers were urged to embrace mechanized agriculture to improve productivity. The government is also keen on enhancing livestock insurance services to farmers to mitigate losses as a result of various factors in addition to providing additional milk coolers to dairy farmers across the country.