President William Ruto has said various programmes his administration is undertaking will see a significant reduction in cost of basic food items and bring more people into the workforce.
Speaking in Kericho County during the making of 60th Mashujaa Day, the President said provision of subsidized fertiliser, affordable credit and extension services to farmers across the country will help strengthen the country’s food security efforts and expand land under food crop cultivation.
“By the end of July, we had distributed 3.5 million bags of region-specific crop fertiliser in 41 counties to registered farmers, working with county governments for last-mile delivery. For the first time in Kenya, fertiliser was distributed based on acreage, and the crops that farmers produce, via a digital e-voucher platform,” he said.
As a result, the President said the Kenya Kwanza administration has placed at least 200,000 acres under crop cultivation.
“We are looking forward to a bountiful 44 million bags from the long rain season and 61 million bags overall for both seasons, marking an impressive increase of over 40pc. Fertiliser support for the short rain crops is now available at National Cereals and Produce Board depots for the regions that plant this season, including Central Kenya, Eastern and Western parts of the country,” he added.
Even though the overall inflation rate has reduced from a high of 9.6pc in October last year to 6.7pc in August this year, Kenyans have been calling on the government to urgently address the rising cost of fuel end electricity.
President Ruto said the government is also seeking to cut the edible oil import bill of Ksh 148 billion by supporting sunflower cultivation through distribution of 600 metric tons of seeds to farmers in partnership with Eastern, Western, and Nyanza regions counties during the short rain season.
In a bid to address employment especially among the youth, the President said by laying additional 100,000km of fibre optic infrastructure throughout the country and 25,000 WiFi hotspots in fresh produce markets, bus parks and other public spaces, besides bringing government services online, will also spur job creation.
“We are also working with Members of Parliament in the set-up of 1450 ICT Hubs in every ward in the country, and I am happy that the National Assembly has aligned the NGCDF act to actualise this strategic intent. Our goal is to spur e-commerce, the creative arts and the digital economy; the frontier of our Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda,” he noted.
The government expects to bring all services online by end of the year, from the current 13,000 services which are available online.
The affordable housing programme which targets to construct 200,000 housing units annually is also backed to be a key job creation driver. So far, construction of 46,792 units is already underway with another 40,000 units ready for construction.
“The construction of one housing unit creates between 3 and 5 direct jobs and 5 to 8 indirect jobs. More jobs will be created with the formalization of the Jua Kali clusters that will provide products such as doors, windows, and hinges for the program,” said President Ruto.