Livestock insurance roll out in 2014, says Ruto


Deputy President William Ruto has said that the government will roll out insurance for livestock  in the country next year  to  cushion  livestock farmers against any adversity befalling their animals.

He said the government had completed negotiations with insurance companies and the programme will become operational early 2014.

Mr.  Ruto at the same time assured farmers in the country that there is sufficient amount if seed and fertilizer   for the next planting season.

Speaking when he opened the national farmers’ congress and annual general meeting of the Kenya National Farmers’ Federation(KENAFF)  at the Kenya  Agricultural Research Institute(KARI) Wednesday, the Deputy President assured that  there  will be no delay in planting adding  as there were 140 tonnes of fertilizer and 48 million seeds ready for planting next year.

Noting that 26 per cent of the country’s GDP  is agro based Mr. Ruto said the government will address all the concerns in the  Agricultural sector as it had a high potential of  enabling  the country to grow at double digits.

He said, “all we need is to commercialize agriculture, do value addition in processing our farm produce and institute massive irrigation in arid and semi arid areas to make agriculture more profitable than it is now.”

He said as the mainstay of Kenya’s economy, agriculture is the source of 65 % of the country’s exports  , 18% of all employment  and 70% of all informal employment in the country.

“As a government we therefore intent to transform 90% of the small holder agricultural farms into commercially oriented exporting entities though employment of modern farming,” he added.

In this regard, Mr. Ruto said there was need for Kenyans to engage in a national debate of how the small unproductive pieces of land could be consolidated so that people can be encouraged to move to markets , towns and urban centres and free land for commercial purposes.

He said, “Am urging you to support  this idea because 2/3  of   agricultural land in the country is half an acre to 2 acres  and this  are the areas in which we want to modernize  agriculture  by giving farmers  quality seeds,  fertilizer, mechanize farming and give them  the best chance to succeed  through increased acreage.”

Mr. Ruto at the same time urged the young generation to venture into agriculture saying that it was of great concern that the average farmer in the country is 60 years yet we have millions of educated   unemployment youth in the country.

Emphasizing that farming was a major commercial enterprise, the Deputy Head of State observed that young people had better knowledge to drive agriculture as a business. “We need them to concentrate their talent and expertise in running agriculture,” he added.

Earlier Mr. Ruto laid a foundation stone to a multimillion KENAFF conference centre and Hotel near Thogoto , in Kikuyu  to  generate income for the farmers.

Speaking at the function the cabinet secretary for Agriculture, livestock and fisheries Felix Koskei   said   aspects of the agricultural act   are being reviewed so that every agricultural sub sector will keep their earnings and that only a small percentage will be remitted to the secretariat.

On fisheries Mr. Koskei   announced that a fish development bank  for fishermen  and other people who want to venture into the business will be  created soon adding the his ministry was also working on  a legal framework   to ensure proper management of beaches and protection for the fishermen.