Kenya looks to India for farm mechanization

kenyan farmer

Kenya is planning to mechanize its agriculture and looking to India for farm equipment that will bring down production costs. The East African country is also bringing in policy changes to transform the sector from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

“We are looking at India for mechanisation support. Currently, we have around 15,000 tractors but there is a severe deficit. The requirement is for 100,000 tractors,” Felix Koskei, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, told IANS in an interview.

“After having discussions with the manufacturers we will start talks with the Indian government. We have already spoken to Indian companies like Sonalika Tractors, Apollo and many others,” added Koskei, who was here for the Asia-Africa Agri-Business Forum meeting organised by the Indian government in association with industry chamber FICCI.

He noted in this context that Kenya had secured an $80 million line of credit from Brazil to buy 2,000 pieces of farm equipment.

Koskei said his country was making “key policy changes to bring down the cost of production”, which was very high because of high cost of inputs like fertiliser, seeds and mechanisation.

“We want to bring it down by 50 percent,” he said, adding: “We will be looking at subsidies for inputs like fertiliser and seeds.”

Agriculture contributes 25 percent of Kenya’s GDP and it involves around 80 percent of the country’s population.

Kenya produces maize, wheat, rice and a variety of pulses.

“But we are also a net importer of rice, wheat and maize. Maize is our staple. We grow it but it is not enough,” Koskei said.

The country also wants to shift from rain-fed agriculture to irrigation. “Currently, the government wants to irrigate one million acres in five years so that production of food crops is consistent and sustainable,” he said.

Koskei said the government expects that all these efforts will double production. “We also want the agriculture sector to grow by double digits per year. The growth rate now is four percent.”

“We are also looking at value-addition equipment like dairy processing plants. We will encourage manufacturers to open assembling plants in Kenya,” he added.

(Aparajita Gupta can be contacted at aparajita.g@ians.in)

Author Bio

belvyna

Mrs. Yemisi Akibu ( nee Awokoya) is the Chief Executive Officer of Belvyna Global, an agricultural consultancy service firm based in Lagos, Nigeria She is a former Team Member of the Agricultural Department of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, one of Nigeria's first generation banks. She holds a B.Sc degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Masters degree in National Development and Project Planning from the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She is passionate about the role agriculture plays in the social, economic, political development of a nation. She holds the view that one of the pillars of stability of a nation food security and this can only be achieved through the holistic development of the agricultural sector. She can be contacted via: yemisiakibu@gmail.com or info@belvynaglobal.com Remember, The Farmer Is King Enjoy my blog

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