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Mudavadi: Government working on expanding market access for Kenyan agricultural products globally

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi

The Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Musalia Mudavadi says his ministry is working closely and in tandem with international partners to expand the global market access for Kenyan agricultural products.

Mudavadi also the Prime Cabinet Secretary says the government’s outlook is futuristic on matters agriculture and there is need to strengthen international relations to boost regional and global trade in order to promote investment in the agricultural sector.

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He was speaking during the Financing Agriculture Sustainably conference under the theme “Positioning Kenya for Resilient Agricultural Enterprises” in Nairobi.

“We are also looking within our continent to foster agricultural trade. Africa has immense potential to feed itself and become a major player in global agricultural markets. We must work together to break down trade barriers and promote regional integration to unlock this potential.” he said.

“To achieve this, investment support is required to facilitate agricultural production and trade. We must invest in infrastructure, such as rural access roads, storage facilities and irrigation systems, to reduce post-harvest losses and improve market access.” added Mudavadi.

While reaffirming the government’s commitment to supporting agriculture, Mudavadi said the government will be allocating adequate resources for research and development to improve crop yields, enhance climate resilience and promote sustainable farming practices to foster ecosystem restoration.

He noted that the agricultural sector is a key driver of Kenya’s growth and socio-economic development and its transformation being a key pillar of the Government Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

“Since independence, the sector has moved from subsistence farming towards commercialization. Toda, it contributes significantly to our GDP, employs the majority of our population and plays a critical role in ensuring food and nutrition security.” He pointed out.

“Furthermore, agriculture is one of the main foreign exchange earners, and is a source of income and livelihoods for majority of Kenyans.” he added.

The Prime CS said digitization of agricultural value chains presents a significant opportunity to improve efficiency and increase transparency.

He noted that by leveraging on technology as a country we will enhance traceability, reduce transaction costs and improve access to finance for smallholder farmers and other value chain actors.

He said the government through various mother ministries led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development will work to ensure that all actors in the value chain from farmers, through processors to consumers, have access to the digital tolls and platform needed to participate in the transformation and growth of the sector.

The role of the private sector in supporting agriculture financing remains critical and Mudavadi said the government is obliged to create an enabling environment for private sector investment.

He emphasized on the need to improve regulatory framework, reduce bureaucracy and increase access to credit as part of what the government will be employing to attract more private sector investment in agriculture nationwide.

“We must promote public-private partnerships to leverage the strengths of both sectors and achieve shared goals. The role of private sector is not limited to financing and investment. It is a critical component in addressing development challenges through its contributions in many areas. These include economic growth, jobs, poverty reduction, service delivery, food security, climate change mitigation and environmental sustainability.” he said.

Mudavadi also appreciated the role FinTechs, banks and other financial institutions play in supporting agriculture saying together they provide innovative financial solutions especially for small-scale farmers.

He noted that by leveraging on mobile technology and alternative data sources, farmers can improve their ability to access credit and other financial services especially for the small-holder farmers who have traditionally been underserved by traditional formal financial sector.

“Under this tech-driven new push, we must also promote financial literacy and capacity building to ensure that farmers are empowered to make informed financial decisions.” noted Mudavadi.

Mudavadi said Kenya is now ready for a re-modelled financing mechanism that promises better days for the agricultural sector.

With reference to the Fourth Medium Term Plan (2023-2028) that was launched last week by President William Ruto, Mudavadi says key policies are outlined together with programmes and projects that government plans to implement to support growth and transformation of the agricultural sector.

“I am certain that working together, we will unlock the full potential of Kenya’s agriculture sector and achieve our shared goals of food security, economic growth and sustainable development.”

He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment for financing and investment in agriculture.

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