15 Regional Agriculture Ministers to meet in Nairobi

ASARECA Board members on a courtesy call to Kenya Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi.

By Kimuri Mwangi

The Republic of Kenya through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development in collaboration with the Inter-governmental Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), will hold the 3rd ASARECA Council of Patron Ministers Meeting on February 15th, 2024 at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Kenya is the current chair of the ASARECA Council of Patron Ministers (CPM) from the 15 African member States. This is the highest organ of the Inter-governmental Association with a clear mandate to provide guidance to ASARECA.

Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi addresses ASARECA Board Members at Kilimo House

The Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture and Livestock Development in Kenya Mithika Linturi says Agricultural research is important and we must devise technologies on how to produce more food for our people.

“Well, I think this forum will give us an opportunity to sit down and critically put things on the table. I believe we are a continent that is seriously endowed and we must be able to leverage on our strength where in my view our strength in Africa is the good soils that God has given us and the big water masses. We are also endowed with our population that is young, beautiful and strong. So, we can have a sitting and see how to properly utilize what we have. And then I am one who believes Africa can feed the rest of the world and that is our greatest potential. This is an area that we can persuade the donor group or anybody else to come in and support it is this field of agriculture,” says the CS.

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The Executive Director of ASARECA Dr. Enock Warinda says that bringing together the ministers in charge of agriculture to discuss matters pertaining to agriculture research for development in Eastern and Central Africa will be of great help since there are challenges like food scarcity and climate change.

“There are a lot of vagaries of weather changes and there are pests and diseases and this requires a concerted and combined effort of the Ministers of agriculture. The best way you can do it is by bringing these ministers together so that they can discuss and come up with the practical solutions. And beyond that you can’t do much without the financial support and this meeting will also bring together a group of donors and development partners who are allied to agriculture,” says Warinda.

He adds that the aim will be to come out with very practical top end priority regional programs that can help to support the youth alleviate poverty, bring in support to the smallholder farmers and make sure that food and nutrition insecurity no longer becomes an insecurity but it becomes a security where people of all walks of life can have free access to food.

From Left, ASARECA Board Chairperson Dr. Geoffrey Mkamilo, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi and Dr. Enock Warinda the Executive Director, ASARECA.

“We are also going to have them deliberate on some of the technologies that may be scaled out, that may be replicated and made available at very minimal or no cost at all so that the region can have free access to these technologies. Since the ministers are the policy makers, they also going to discuss on how the 15 countries can encourage the free flow of goods through trade and encourage the smallholder farmers. Also, so that the Mama in the village there who can produce high quality produce should not just sell at the local market there but should have access to other international markets like Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and so forth,” opines the Executive Director.

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