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Let’s embrace unity, patriotism, President Ruto says

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President William Ruto on Saturday led the country in marking this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations, with a strong call for unity and patriotism among Kenyans.

Speaking in Bungoma County which hosted the 61st Madaraka Day, the President said Kenya will never go back to politics of ethnicity, personalities and exclusion.

He said his agenda is focused on the development of the country irrespective of how people voted during the last General Election.

“I want to assure Kenyans that we will never go back to politics of ethnicity, personalities and people not being in centre of power,” said President Ruto.

He also sent a stern warning to Government officials on the misuse of public resources.

“All government officials, beginning with me, shall be held accountable for resources under their supervision,” said President Ruto.

He asked those who have grabbed public land in Bungoma to surrender it to pave the way for the expansion of the Masinde Muliro Stadium, airport and other development projects.

President Ruto used the occasion to enumerate his administration’s achievements in the agricultural sector, and promised more development projects across the country.

This year’s Madaraka Day theme is Agriculture and Food Security.

The President noted that investments in agriculture remain key to expansion of the most important value chain in our economy and in ensuring that there is enough food to feed citizens.

“Agriculture’s direct contributions to our GDP is 25 pc, while its indirect support to other economic pillars, such as manufacturing, boosts the GDP by a further 27 pc,” President Ruto said.

The President pointed out that under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, the country will reduce hunger, fight poverty and improve the health of Kenyans.

“I am particularly delighted that agriculture and food security are the chosen theme of this year’s celebrations,” President Ruto said.

He appreciated the determination of small-scale farmers, who are the strongest in the agricultural sector in Kenya, in their effort to produce more food.

To enhance social inclusion and a robust thriving economy, the President said the government has deployed an agriculture-led Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda.

“Under the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda, we will reduce hunger, fight poverty and improve Kenya’s health outcomes,” President Ruto said.

He said local farmers have defied systemic and structural limitations to make a contribution to household and national food security requirements, and to propel the economy.

“Consequently, we have worked effectively with farmers and other food system value chains to transform their productivity beyond subsistence and enhance the country’s food security,” said President Ruto.

As part of the efforts to reform the sugar sector, President Ruto said the government has written off KSh110 billion worth of sugar factory debts accumulated over 40 years.

The President said reforms have been carried out in coffee and tea, among other sectors, to ensure that farmers get good returns on their investment and improve the country’s economy.

“Measures are underway to boost coffee productivity from 2kg to 10kg a tree, and from 50,000 metric tonnes to 102,000 metric tonnes a year by 2027,” he said.

President Ruto announced that the government is writing off KSh6 billion debt owed by coffee cooperatives.

He said the government will continue to champion afforestation and the restoration of degraded landscapes and mobilise Kenyans to plant trees to restore the environment.

“We have made progress towards fulfilling our commitment to build 100 dams and 1,000 small dams in different parts of the country, to facilitate sustainable water use and increase irrigated land by 500,000 acres by 2026,” said the President.

To control livestock diseases and pests, President Ruto said the Kenya Veterinary Vaccines Production Institute (KEVEVAPI) produced 35 million doses of various livestock vaccines in 2023.

To enhance access to credit by farmers, the President announced that KSh1 billion has been allocated to the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) in the next financial year.

“Additionally, we are collaborating with Afriexim Bank to provide KSh15 billion to AFC to support increased lending to farmers,” he said.

He said the government has secured quota-free and duty-free access to the 27-member European Union market for exports of Kenyan farmers under the Economic Partnership Agreement signed between Kenya and the EU.

” I also wish to report that during my recent visit to the US, we negotiated the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, an instrument which has enhanced access to the US market for African exports, and catalysed the rapid growth of Kenyan exports, especially in the textile and apparels industry,” said Dr Ruto.

PCS
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