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Young People are Encouraged to Practice Agribusiness

Young People are Encouraged
Mixed race female farmer standing in farm store room organising layout using digital tablet . High quality photo

The government is encouraging young people to participate in aquaculture and farming programs being offered in educational institutions so that they might pursue careers in agriculture in the future.

Promotion of the Recirculation of Aquaculture System (RAS) and installation of RAS units in institutions of higher learning in the 47 counties, according to State Department for Fisheries and Blue Economy Principal Secretary Dr. Francis Owino, aims to engage the youth at an early stage so that they can develop an interest in agricultural programs.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is working on projects and programs aimed at young people. “This will allow students to identify their areas of interest and obtain instruction from agricultural experts,” Dr. Owino explained.

He said fish farming is the new frontier, where young people can venture and earn a living by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the sub-sector, noting that the country’s current fish consumption demand is 450,000 metric tons, compared to 149.7 metric tons produced, resulting in a 300.3 metric ton deficit.

Dr. Owino, who is also the State Department for Crop Development and Agricultural Research’s Ag. PS stated that the fisheries and blue economy sub-sector, which accounts for around 0.6 percent of Kenya’s GDP, employs over 2 million people directly and indirectly along the various fish value chains.

The PS said that in order to increase aquaculture fish production from 12, 356 metric tons to 61, 033 metric tons, the government has rolled out the aquaculture business development project in 15 high-potential counties, targeting 30,000 households, during the SemaNaSpox virtual weekly session on the status of food security at Media Centre, Telposta Towers on Monday.

Kakemega, Homa Bay, Migori, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Meru, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu, Kisii, Tharaka Nithi, Embu, Kiambu, Machakos, and Kajiado are among the counties that would benefit from the project.

“We’re also pushing sea-weed cultivation in Kwale County, where we’ve taught 250 farmers and given them value-added equipment to make soap and beauty goods,” Owino said.

According to the PS, the government has put in place strategies to address the production deficit in marine and inland fishing by enforcing the Fisheries Management and Development Act, developing fishing ports, and providing handling and processing facilities at Liwatoni Fishing Port, which also has a cold storage facility.

“The Liwatoni Tuna Fish Processing Hub is still under development, and plans are also in the works to build fishing ports in Kwale and Lamu,” he said.

The PS stated that the government is assisting in the development of aquaculture fish value addition and marketing outlets in various counties, as well as the establishment of three quality laboratories in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu, in order to reduce post-harvest losses in fisheries and fishery products from 25% to 15% this year.

Dr. Owino said the country’s national food security status has remained stable in most parts of the country, with the exception of 23 Arid and Semi-Arid Land counties, where 2.8 needy households continue to rely on food aid support owing to prolonged drought.

“With the help of other stakeholders, the government has been giving food, water, boreholes, school feeding programs, livestock offtake, and social protection cash payments to targeted households,” the PS noted.

In his remarks, Government Spokesperson Col. (Rtd.) Cyrus Oguna urged farmers to buy subsidized fertilizers from certified stores, stressing that several counties benefited from the government’s provision of high-quality seeds and fingerlings.

He stated that the government is concerned about rising food prices and has put in place different actions to prevent this…

“The food situation has been created by a mix of causes, including a four-season drought, the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted livelihoods, and the locust invasion, which has caused extensive damage,” he stated.